A review now underway of the first five years of the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP) has highlighted a serious omission. The programme, which sets out the actions Europe needs to take to implement the Kyoto Protocol to reduce CO2 emissions, has failed to include walking and cycling.
Sustrans is a member of the transport expert group and is determined that the importance of non-motorised transport be recognised when the next phase is planned.
Sustrans' international liaison director Philip Insall said: The first ECCP completely ignored zero-emission transport, and put too much faith in technological solutions to the transport emissions problem. This old-fashioned assumption - that only motorised journeys matter - means that about one third of all journeys, those done on foot and by bike, get overlooked in policy making and in monitoring; it leads to a faulty allocation of resources, longer and longer journeys, more and more emissions, and reduced accessibility.
While other major sources of climate change emissions have begun to tackle the problem, transport has continued its emissions growth unabated. It is a step in the right direction that the Commission has invited Sustrans to take part in the review, and this does give us some hope that zero-emission transport will be included in the second ECCP.
Over the last five years Sustrans has assembled hard data on travel behaviour and the potential for change to less polluting choices. TravelSmart director James Ryle said: Our TravelSmart Individualised Travel Marketing programme has shown that in a range of settings more than one in ten car journeys can be switched to greener modes. We have also analysed the potential for travel behaviour change in three English towns, and found that as many as half of all car trips could be changed.
Perhaps most interesting of all is our finding that almost 90 percent of the public favoured measures to promote walking, cycling and public transport over the car. Politicians seem to be more nervous about addressing the transport aspects of climate change than the person in the street.
Sustrans key recommendations to the Commission for the second ECCP, are:
* It should make clear that the scale of emissions reduction we need in the transport sector is too great to be addressed by technological advances alone, recognise the potential of non-motorised transport and propose the measures needed to bring about a shift from the car.
* It should make a clear and definitive statement of intent to reduce volumes of motorised transport across all EU member states. * It should refer specifically to the need to plan for accessibility (easy access to the goods and services which people need) rather than mobility (the need to travel in order to reach them).
* It should state clearly how progress towards emissions reduction also serves other policy objectives, such as public health, social cohesion and local economic vitality and environmental quality.