Local Authorities Should Broaden CO2 Focus, Report Says
In its latest publication, titled “Going Green: How local authorities can encourage the take-up of lower carbon vehicles”, the Foundation surveyed local governments to find out what they were doing to promote greener transport.
The report showed two thirds of local governments were actively adopting low and ultra-low carbon vehicles on their own fleets, with a quarter encouraging or requiring their use through newly developed procurement procedures. A third of those surveyed said they were investing in charging points, while green parking initiatives were also popular.
But, by comparison, very few had implemented low emission zones in town centres, such as free entry to the London Congestion Charge Zone for sub-100g/km vehicles, and many respondents were unenthusiastic about doing so.
With electric vehicles expected to account for just 6.4% of total vehicles by 2020, the Foundation said these were unlikely to make a significant dent in carbon emissions in the next 10 to 15 years. Though the report said it recognised their long term importance, it said local authorities should widen their incentives to include all forms of low carbon transport.
David Quarmby, chairman of the RAC Foundation, summarised the findings by saying: ‘Both the powers and the opportunities do exist for local authorities to nudge the adoption and use of lower carbon vehicles far beyond the level at which they are currently being deployed, to help deliver transport carbon emission reductions on a larger scale and in a shorter timescale than the present focus on plug-in EVs is likely to achieve.
‘The Foundation wants to see these opportunities being grasped and progressed, because of their importance in maintaining mobility for those who depend on their cars for their daily lives, particularly in a context of pump prices continuing to increase, and bearing in mind the future possibility of carbon-related energy taxes.'
BVRLA chief executive, John Lewis, welcomed the report: ‘Electric vehicles will play a major role in the future transport mix, but they will remain a niche product for some time,’ he said.
‘For some time the BVRLA has been arguing that government incentives and policy needs to focus on encouraging the use of all lower carbon vehicles, whether they are run on biofuel, petrol, diesel, electricity or hybrid systems.
‘Planning for the future on the basis that businesses and people will either use trains, buses or an electric vehicle is not a viable option.’