Plea for integrated clean air strategy

Better joined up thinking is needed across Government to deliver a new strategy aimed at cleaning up road transport and meeting carbon reduction targets, according to think tank Policy Exchange. 

The group’s new report ‘Driving Down Emissions’ argues that to date the Government’s approach to tackling road transport emissions has been disjointed and insufficient.

For example it highlights that the Department for Transport and the Committee on Climate Change are working off different projections for expected greenhouse gas emissions from road use. It therefore calls for greater coordination to ensure that all parts of Government are working towards a common vision of the future of road transport.

“As it stands, there is no overarching Government strategy to deliver the required reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and the latest plan to reduce ‘NOx’ emissions is inadequate,” commented the report’s lead author Richard Howard – Policy Exchange’s head of energy and environment.

The group recommends that the Government should establish a cabinet level committee focused on emissions reduction and clean growth. It adds that the new Metro Mayors should act as focal points for action to clean up road transport in major UK cities, drawing on lessons from London.

Other measures encouraged by the report include a targeted diesel scrappage scheme alongside the introduction of clean air zones, and efforts to ensure electric vehicle sharing infrastructure is ‘smart’ to minimise demand on power networks.

It also points out that an implication of reaching carbon reduction targets could be a significant hole in fuel duty receipts of up to £23Bn a year by 2030. As a result it may be necessary to consider whether, in the long term, road user charging would be more effective than fuel taxes.