The Chancellor has today announced additional funding for sustainable transport including buses, trams and cycling routes through the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund.
Greener Journeys, the sustainable transport group, has welcomed the announcement which comes just days ahead of a new report demonstrating the value of investment in local bus infrastructure.
However, Greener Journeys has also warned that the Government’s decision to extend its seven-year freeze on fuel duty will have a severe negative impact on air pollution and public health in the UK.
Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, said:
“The extension of the Transforming Cities Fund provides a welcome boost to towns and cities across the UK which are suffering from congested roads and illegal levels of air pollution, both problems which are exacerbated by too many cars on the road.
“It is gratifying to see the Government recognise the value of investment in bus infrastructure. Greener Journeys research has previously shown that investment in bus infrastructure can deliver more than £8 of wider benefit for local economies, and later this week we will publish a new report examining the significant and varied benefits this type of investment can bring.
“However, the continued freeze in fuel duty will have a severe negative impact on air pollution and public health in the UK. With roadside air pollution causing up to 50,000 early deaths a year, we urgently need to tackle our air quality crisis and move away from our reliance on the car to more sustainable public transport.
“The fuel duty freeze has already made the price of fuel at the pump 13% cheaper than it would otherwise be resulting in 4% more traffic and up to 200 million fewer bus journeys over the past seven years. Greener Journeys research has also shown that it has caused an additional 4.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and 12,000 tonnes of harmful NOx emissions.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
For further information
Greener Journeys Press Office
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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