Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP has confirmed in his budget today £690 million of funding for local authorities to tackle the growing problem of urban congestion, and get local transport networks moving again. However, fuel duty remains frozen and a review of taxation of diesel vehicles has been delayed until the autumn.
Commenting on the announcement, Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, the sustainable transport campaigning group, said:
“Congestion is strangling towns and cities across the UK, bringing urban centres to a standstill and costing the economy more than £13 billion each year. We are delighted the Chancellor has acknowledged the severity of this problem, and await with interest further details of the £690 million fund to ease traffic on the worst pinch points in local transport networks.
“Investment in bus priority measures and bus infrastructure can ease congestion and reduce roadside emissions, delivering £7 of economic benefit for every £1 invested. The Department for Transport must ensure these funds are allocated to measures which make public transport a more convenient and appealing travel option for drivers.
“This funding is a step in the right direction. But if this Government is serious about tackling congestion, and confronting the emerging public health threat caused by roadside air pollution, it must have the courage to confront the root cause of the issue – rising car use.
“While fuel duty remains frozen and the cost of driving remains low, we can only expect traffic and pollution levels to get worse. Only by raising duty and the cost of driving the dirtiest diesel vehicles can we encourage people out of their cars and tackle the congestion and air quality problems once and for all.”
Notes to Editors:
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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
Photographer credit: Jonathan Kos-Read