The Government has published its Budget, including measures designed to tackle the growing air quality crisis in Britain’s towns and cities, which is causing up to 50,000 early deaths every year.
Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, said:
“Meaningful action to halt the growing air quality crisis in towns and cities across the UK is long overdue, and these tougher measures against high-polluting diesel cars are a step in the right direction towards reducing pollution and cleaning up the air we breathe.
“Diesel cars are the biggest contributors to NOx pollution from road transport, accounting for 41% of emissions compared with just 6% for buses and coaches. The latest generation of clean diesel British buses release fewer emissions overall than an equivalent standard of diesel car despite having 15 to 20 times the capacity.
“However, this budget also represents a missed opportunity. It is disappointing that the Government does not go further and extend the higher VED rate to diesel vans – which account for a further 30% of emissions – and that they continue to pander to motorists by introducing yet another freeze to fuel duty.
“The overriding cause of dangerously high air pollution in Britain is congestion, but the Government still lacks the courage to address the sheer number of cars and vans on our roads. Buses help tackle congestion, and can have a major impact on improving local air quality if the Government is willing to stand up to motorists and put the bus at the heart of its clean air plans.”
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About Greener Journeys: Greener Journeys is a campaign dedicated to encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices. It is a coalition of the UK’s leading public transport organizations, user groups and supporters. It aims to reduce CO2 emissions from transport by encouraging people to switch some of their car journeys to bus or coach instead. Switching from car to bus for just one journey a month would mean one billion fewer car journeys on our roads and would save 2 million tonnes of CO2 every year. For more information visit www.greenerjourneys.com
Image: Raul Mee (EU2017EE)