New report calls for clean alternatives to EVs to cut overall car use

The IPPR Environmental Justice Commission has called for more focus on clean affordable alternatives to EVs including free local public transport.

Following on from the Government’s transport decarbonisation plan, the IPPR think tank has set out an alternative vision for transport as part of a blueprint for a fair transition to net zero, informed by public consultation across the country.

The commission’s report, ‘Fairness and Opportunity: A people-powered plan for the green transition’, claims that the UK is failing to ensure that the costs and benefits of the transition to net zero will be fairly shared. It also believes the Government has no coherent plan to make the most of the opportunities presented by this fundamental change in the country’s economic model.

The report calls for upgrades to local public transport, and for it to be made free to all users throughout the UK by 2030, with free bus travel by 2025 as a first step.

Luke Murphy, head of the IPPR Environmental Justice Commission, responding to advance release of some elements of the government’s transport decarbonisation plan, said: “The Government’s proposals to phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol heavy goods vehicles are welcome, as is the consultation on a potential industry mandate for zero emission vehicles.

“However, though we await the detail, there appears to be little additional funding to support the switch to more affordable and clean transport alternatives to cut overall car use. This would be a missed opportunity to put in place a new approach to how we all travel, with solutions benefiting wellbeing, health and environment.

“We need to massively expand the provision of and affordability of clean public transport options, such as trains, buses and trams, while helping more people to regularly walk and cycle, alongside a shift to electric vehicles for those that need them. We also need to see a firm commitment from the government to review the £27 billion roads programme, including schemes that are currently planned as well as future ones.

“The Environmental Justice Commission’s report, out today, calls for a significant step-change in investment to upgrade local public transport and make it free to all users throughout the UK by 2030, with free bus travel by 2025 as a first step.”

The IPPR Environmental Justice Commission was established in 2019 to develop the ideas and policies to bring about a rapid green transition that is fair and just. It puts people at the centre of its work, by holding deliberative democracy events and citizens’ juries in diverse locations to draw on local knowledge.

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