Labour: Transport must play its part in ‘Green Industrial Revolution’

 

Labour’s shadow transport secretary has accused the Department for Transport (DfT) of ‘paying lip service to climate change’ and pledged that a Labour government will align the department’s priorities with its commitment to tackle the issue.

Andy McDonald MP set out Labour’s plans for the Department for Transport in a keynote speech at the Institute for Government this week.

He said: ‘Transport is the UK’s single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and the worst-performing sector when it comes to reducing carbon emissions.

”Local >

‘Labour will align the priorities of the Department for Transport with our commitment to tackle climate change. We will put an end to a Department that only pays lip service to climate change, and instead will ensure it puts at its core our moral responsibility to cut emissions and allocates departmental spending as if climate change really matters.’

‘Labour want to see the Department set a carbon budget consistent with the aspirations of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Moreover, Labour wants each of the sectors – rail, road, aviation and maritime – to have carbon reduction targets in line with that departmental budget.'

He added: ‘The next Labour government intends to drive a Green Industrial Revolution. Transport, and the railway in particular, was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution. And so those greenest forms of transport with the railway at the forefront, are critical to our plans for a Green Industrial Revolution.’

Mr McDonald also criticised the DfT for what he called ‘the dominance of short-term thinking over long-term strategies’.

On the question of whether government should invest in high speed rail or the existing network, he said: ‘It’s not a question of either-or. It is both', but he warned that ‘there will be no blank cheque from Labour’.

Looking back at the last Labour government, Mr McDonald said its biggest mistake on transport was ‘not facing down the fuel protesters in 2000 when the party was at the height of its powers', a decision that ‘led to a huge distortion in both the public finances and how the financial burden has fallen across the modes of transport which we still live with today’.

He hinted at possible changes in tax and spending in transport, contrasting the freeze in fuel duty and air passenger duty since 2010 with increases of more than a third in rail and bus fares up. He said: 'This is not a sensible approach to transport policy.'

In response, AA president Edmund King said: 'Any hike in fuel duty will be seen as an attack on the economy particularly with the increase in self-employment coupled with the largest increases in van registrations ever. We need to promote incentives for drivers to switch to greener vehicles rather than looking at measures to tax them more.'

Labour’s plans:

  • A new Clean Air Act ‘to deal with the Conservative legacy of illegal air quality’
  • Enabling the expansion of public transport by bringing the railways back into public ownership, capping fares, and supporting the creation of municipal bus companies
  • Instigating a rolling programme to steadily electrify the railway
  • Completing HS2 from London through Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester and then into Scotland
  • Linking HS2 with other rail investments, such as Crossrail of the North
  • Upgrading the rail network in the South West, following the recommendations of the Peninsula Rail Task Force
  • Encouraging greater use of public transport by introducing free bus travel for under 25s where local authorities regulate or take ownership of their local bus services, paid for using money ring-fenced from Vehicle Excise Duty
  • Encouraging expansion of freight services in a publicly-owned railway
  • Positioning the UK at the forefront of the development, manufacture and use of ultra-low emission vehicles
  • Guaranteeing that any airport expansion adheres to its ‘tests’, which require ‘noise issues to be addressed, air quality to be protected, the UK’s climate change obligations met and growth across the country supported’.

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Definitive Map Manager

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
This role is based within the Highways Service at Cambridgeshire County Council and provides an unusual and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Bridge Park Operations Manager

Brent Council
£38,799 - £41,706 p.a. inc.
This is an exciting opportunity to play a key role in managing the operations and contributing towards the... Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Assistant Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£21,074 - £30,756
A great opportunity for someone looking to start or develop a career in Highways Engineering including the... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Head of Strategic Transport

Cheshire East Council
£64,000 - £75,000 + benefits
We’re committed to “working for a brighter future together” – and we expect you to be too! Cheshire
Recuriter: Cheshire East Council

Regeneration Manager

Mole Valley District Council
£52,895 - £57,143 FTE
This is a great career opportunity to specialise in town centre regeneration and repositioning. Dorking, Surrey
Recuriter: Mole Valley District Council

Technical Services Officer (Mechanical)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£36,876 - £38,813
This is an exciting and challenging time for Kirklees and we want to expand our team to manage and deliver construction... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Road and Footway Asset Engineer

Kent County Council
£28,925 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the Road and Footway Asset Team as an Asset Engineer. Kent
Recuriter: Kent County Council

Head of Waste

Lincolnshire County Council
£65,651 - £70,725
As Head of Waste, you will be commercially focussed and forward-thinking. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Assistant Director

Reading Borough Council
Up to £92k
It’s the ideal time to take the lead on our modernisation agenda, and deliver growth in the trading of our front line services. Reading, Berkshire
Recuriter: Reading Borough Council

Assistant Director – Highways

Lincolnshire County Council
£82,264 - £107,878
Come and lead the future agenda for our highways services. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

County Highways Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£55,503 - £60,578
Seeking a highly motivated leader and an excellent communicator, who has a proven ability to build relationships and trust, leading by example. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Local Highways Manager (East) - Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Council
G12 £43,662 - £50,430
Seeking someone who combines excellent technical knowledge with a dedication to the customer. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council