We hope that this finds you well.
On the 26th of March this year, the Department for Transport launched its latest consultation: Decarbonising Transport. The consultation document states that, in order to move towards decarbonising the transport sector, car use must fall. Instead of car-dependency, “public transport and active travel (walking and cycling) will be the natural first choice for our daily activities.” Given that the transport sector contributes approximately one third of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions (making it the UK’s most polluting sector), this statement is welcome.
Yet, just a couple of weeks earlier, the same Government department announced a new five-year Road Investment Strategy to build thousands of miles of new roads. The strategy will cost £27.4 billion of public money and will see huge swathes of the UK’s countryside destroyed. In addition, new roads tend to generate more traffic, and more traffic will mean more greenhouse gas emissions. How then, does the road investment strategy square with the DfT’s decarbonisation ambitions? Plainly, it doesn’t.
You might recall that, in February this year, the Court of Appeal ruled that the policy statement underpinning expansion at Heathrow was unlawful because it failed to take into account the UK’s climate obligations under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Following the ruling, the Transport Action Network (TAN) wrote to the Government asking it to re-think its road-building strategy. Having received no response, TAN is now taking the Government to court. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a distraction – understandably so – but we are still in a climate emergency. Meaningful, progressive action must be taken urgently.
TAN’s is crowdfunding its legal costs. You can access the crowdfunding link here. Please support TAN if you are able.