Friends of the Earth report argues Department’s emphasis on expanding road infrastructure sidelines climate change concerns
The Department for Transport (DfT) has “gone rogue” on climate change by side-lining legally binding commitments to cut carbon emissions in its plans and strategies, according to an explosive new report released today by Friends of the Earth.
Written by research group Transport for Quality of Life, the study charges the Department with prioritising economic growth and tackling congestion through projects such as road building, instead of focusing on public transport infrastructure and other forms of low-carbon travel.
“DfT has side-lined climate change in its strategies, plans and guidance to local authorities and bodies such as Highways England,” the paper concludes. “In other words, the DfT has gone rogue on climate change.”
Transport is the largest generator of greenhouses gases in the UK, contributing 27 per cent to total emissions in 2017 according to official figures released in February. Whereas emissions from the energy sector dropped 7.6 per cent through the course of that year, no progress was made on reducing transport emissions, the stats show.
Today’s report, commissioned by Friends of the Earth, argues DfT has been too focused on expanding road infrastructure via strategies such as the Transport Investment Strategy, the National Policy Statement for national networks, the Strategic Transport Plans of the sub-national Transport bodies, and Major Road Network guidance. Where the carbon impact of transport is directly addressed – in the Road Investment, Clean Growth and Road to Zero strategies, for example – it is assumed a shift to electric