The government’s chief advisor on transport climate change is ready to recommend tougher pollution limits on cars for 2030, the next stage in the government’s green planning agenda.
Professor Julia King, the transport advisor on the Committee for Climate Change (CCC), said progress towards cutting greenhouse gases has been faster than expected because of the recession and the success of the scrappage scheme.
“We need to capture this benefit and get on to a faster reduction than has been possible previously,” Prof King told Autocar at an industry event today.
The CCC has been recommending five-yearly reductions in C02 output since 2003, with the long-term goal of cutting the UK’s total carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
Transport has been targeted with a 34 per cent cut between 1990 and 2020, but that was still not enough to hit the long-term goal.
With the recession, though, it believes a cut of 42 per cent is now achievable and is expected to recommend that new target to government in its next report, due in December.
What this means exactly for road transport won’t be revealed until the report is published, but it is likely to mean an increased focus on public transport, more eco-driving education, planning strategies to force a shift to public transport, pressure to enforce a strict 70mph motorway speed limit and road pricing.
These five measures, controversial because of their anti-car implications, are already the main planks of the CCC’s transport plan to 2020.
Its interim report in July listed the potential benefits of the five. Road pricing was estimated as saving 6 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2, a strict 70mph motorway limit (1.4 Mt), better planning (3 Mt), eco-driving (1 Mt) and shifting more drivers to public transport (3 Mt).
It is also likely to mean a stronger emphasis on electric cars. The CCC has already recommended that 1.7m electric cars need to be on the road by 2020 to hit the long-term reduction target.
On its way to that target, which ties in with a massive increase in electricity generation from renewable sources, the CCC wants at least 240,000 EVs in regular use by 2015.