Transport policy is failing the environment, says RMT
TRANSPORT POLICY is failing to get people out of cars and aeroplanes and on to trains and buses, transport union RMT said yesterday, as the government published its annual Transport Trends statistics.
RMT renewed its call for an urgent and fundamental shift in policy to change Britain’s transport habits for the sake of the environment, as the figures showed that growth in car and air travel was continuing to outstrip growth in use of trains and buses.
Transport Trends 2007 shows that most of the 65 per cent increase in passenger-miles travelled between 1980 and 2006 has been thanks to car use, with growth in domestic air travel in second place, and that the alarming trend is continuing.
The statistics show that:
* most growth in transport passenger kilometres between 1980 and 2006 has been due to car travel – up by
77 per cent
* for travel modes other than car, the greatest percentage increase was in domestic air travel, which has
more than trebled
* the overall cost of motoring has remained at or below its 1980 level in real terms, while bus and coach fares
and rail fares were both 40 per cent higher in 2006 than 1980
* rail investment was three times higher in real terms ten years after privatisation, but that punctuality and
reliability were still below British Rail levels.
“Economic growth means that all transport use is on the increase, but the relative growth in car and air travel is shocking,” RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said on Thursday.
“If we are to get people out of cars and aeroplanes and on to trains and buses in sufficient numbers to meet emissions targets we need a fundamental shift in policy that will bring a massive increase in rail capacity, including new high-speed lines.
“If just five per cent of people travelling by car turn to rail it would require a 50 per cent increase in rail capacity, so the task is huge and it needs dramatic action.
“But we also need a fares policy that encourages rail and bus use, and that means cheaper tickets, not more expensive ones.
“If the government is to achieve its emissions targets the Secretary of State urgently needs to be set legally binding targets to get people using less damaging modes of transport.
“We also need to stop wasting money on a failed privatised system in which investment costs three times what it did in British Rail days, while punctuality and reliability remain below pre-privatisation levels,” Bob Crow said.
For further information please contact Derek Kotz on 020 7529 8803 or 07939 595 092
Notes to editors: Transport Trends 2007 can be read at http://www.dft.gov.uk/162259/162469/221412/190425/220778/trends2007.pdf
Transport is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases. Carbon emissions from transport account for approximately 25 per cent of all UK carbon emissions, the vast majority of which are currently produced by road transport.
In the UK the modal share of the car is higher than any other EU state
The recent University of Oxford report stated that forecasted aviation growth will mean all other sectors of the economy will have to cut their emissions by 71-87% by 2050 rather than the 60% proposed by the Government.
According to a report by Professor Goodwin of University College London, if private transport use is reduced by, for example by 5 per cent this reduction in private transport could lead to a 50 per cent increase in the actual or potential demand for public transport use. This is due to the current very high percentage of the population who use private transport compared to the very small amount who use public transport.