Think tank: UK must cut traffic and improve technology to meet climate goals
The Green Alliance think tank says the UK needs to introduce more measures to help drivers switch to low and zero carbon modes as well as accelerate sales of electric and zero emission vehicles if it is to meet the 2030 climate target.
Green Alliance says that this will require more investment in public transport over the next decade, as well as more support for local authorities to improve facilities for active travel and to make neighbourhoods more walkable.
The report highlights the additional economic benefits of traffic reduction saying that if just 1.7 per cent of car journeys were shifted to active travel, this would provide up to £2.5 billion per year in health benefits, plus £8 billion of savings in terms of the costs related to congestion.
The study looked at fast, medium, and slow electric vehicle sales trajectories in the period up to the UK’s 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. The fast scenario is based on the Climate Change Committee’s recommended rate of uptake to meet climate targets.
The study found that, even under the medium sales trajectory, which the Government thinks is most likely, the average annual mileage per car would have to fall by around 1,700 miles if emissions targets are to be met. Under the slow sales trajectory, the annual average mileage per car would need to be cut by almost 30 per cent, or 2,300 miles a year fewer, to keep emissions on track.
Business Green reports that the Green Alliance study has been welcomed by several MPs. Christian Wakeford, MP for Bury South, said: "The net zero transition brings a host of opportunities to the UK, not least renewing and improving our tired public transport network. If we roll out modern green solutions like high-speed rail and local electric buses, people will use them. It will cut emissions, create jobs, and boost opportunity at the same time".
Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon and Conservative Environment Network's Active Travel Champion, said: "Walking and cycling are great ways to stay active and to minimise air pollution. Green Alliance's report shows how active travel could also help cut emissions, playing a key role in getting the transport sector to net zero."
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