The transport policies needed to cut carbon emissions in the UK

1st November 2019

Friends of the Earth have commissioned a series of research papers on the transport policies that are needed to cut carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The papers will focus on emissions from cars in urban areas, as this is where significant and rapid carbon savings can be made, while improving quality of life for the 80% of people living in towns and cities.

Government policy on reducing carbon from cars is mainly focussed on vehicle electrification. While this is essential, the scale and speed of carbon saving that is needed means that electrification is insufficient on its own, and demand management to reduce traffic volumes will also be necessary.

Politicians are nervous of action to reduce traffic because it has (wrongly) come to be seen as ‘anti-motorist’. However, policies to reduce traffic have multiple benefits, and can and should be designed so that there are more winners than losers.

The research papers by Transport for Quality of Life are listed below:

A radical transport response to the climate emergency (26th October 2019)

Transport is now the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK and emissions are rising. This briefing outlines far-reaching changes to deliver the reductions needed and ensure a decent transport system that works for everyone. Full report available (pdf).

A net zero carbon budget for the whole transport sector (27th June 2019)

Analysis shows Department for Transport plans will cause UK to breach carbon budgets; radical new plan needed to cut aviation and road transport carbon by 2030. Full report available (pdf)

Getting the Department for Transport on the right track (24th May 2019)

A damning indictment of the failure of the Department for Transport to give proper regard to the Climate Change Act. Full report available (pdf).

Segregated cycleways and e-bikes – the future of urban travel (5th April 2019)

A third of urban journeys could be by bike with investment in segregated cycleways and e-bikes. Full report available (pdf).

Transforming public transport (15th Feb 2019)

Free bus travel should be offered in the UK to the under 30’s as a stepping stone to free bus travel for all. Full report available (pdf)

Planning for less car use (3rd Feb 2019)

Urban sprawl needs to be stopped. We need a diverse mix of new developments in existing urban areas with high quality public transport, cycling and walking. Full report available (pdf).

More than Electric Cars (1st Feb 2019)

Even a very rapid switch to electric cars will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough. In addition, traffic levels need to be reduced by at least 20%. Full report available (pdf)