Governmental plans to build new roads will see the UK’s net zero targets missed.
That’s the claim of campaign groups that have come together to criticise the Department for Transport’s (DfT) plans, including Friends of the Earth and Transport Action Network.
The pollution of hybrid vehicles was overlooked in the recent transport decarbonisation plan, which saw 26 new megatonnes of carbon emissions added to projections.
Van traffic will also increase with new roads, which the campaign groups claim will generate even more greenhouse gas emissions.
On the subject of hybrids, the DfT said: “Recent evidence suggests [hybrids] are 3-5 times more polluting in the real world than in test drives. This adjustment raises baseline emissions.”
It also accepted that an adjustment will be needed for an upsurge in van traffic.
With a share of 24% of the UK’s emissions for 2020, transport is one of the most pressing industries for carbon reduction measures.
Transport Action Network’s Chris Todd said: “With the revised net zero strategy admitting we are off track to meet 2030 targets, ministers are deliberately accelerating us towards runaway climate change. We need the public to tell them to slam the brakes on this road-building spree. Instead, we urgently need world-class public transport and active travel, not world-destroying temperature rises.”
Mike Childs from Friends of the Earth added: “Britain’s transport system needs a change of direction with priority given to better public transport and cycling infrastructure instead of more motoring.
“Billions of pounds are being squandered on more roadbuilding when more pressing needs are vastly underfunded – from rural buses to home insulation.”
A spokesperson from the DfT responded to the claims: “We are committed to delivering our net zero ambition and this hasn’t changed since we published our world-leading transport decarbonisation plan.
“In line with best analytical practice, the department continually reviews its projections and makes changes when appropriate to ensure plans are based on the latest scientific data.”