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Greenfield Sites Have High Environmental Value Too

Over the years Wildlife and Countryside Link has provided a great way of joining environmental voices together and also mediating in those cases where countryside and wildlife protection come into conflict. So it can only be a matter of great regret that it has, once again, decided to take sides in ...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 18 September 2017

Fixing Our Brokered Housing Market

The grandly named new Government policy for Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places raises far more questions than answers, but the big one ministers will be asking is whether it will head off hostility from the rank-and-file at the upcoming party conference. Certainly the new methodology h...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 16 September 2017

Forever, For Everyone

Defending the environment for everyone, forever, is a pretty big ambition but that, at its most basic, is what sustainability means. But challenges do not come any bigger than promising things to everyone, forever. That ambition is, of course, what drives the National Trust and has done for more tha...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 10 September 2017

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MPs voice transport sustainability concerns

Added on 01 September 2016

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has told the Department for Transport to assess the cumulative impact of its projects on sustainability and deal with its failure to hit decarbonisation targets, but evaded calling for a halt to major highway and airport expansion.

The Committee’s report Sustainability in the Department for Transport says the DfT needs to work on communicating its sustainability remit. A great deal of the report is dedicated to the so-called “ultra-low emission vehicles” and car manufacturers’ cheat devices, diluting the impact of its messages on carbon emissions.

“Committee on Climate Change advice on the lowest-cost pathway to the UK’s 2050 emissions reduction target included an interim 2025 decarbonisation objective, which the transport sector is projected to miss by almost 50%,” says the report. “Transport is now the largest emitting sector; emissions have increased for the past two years running. We recommend the Department set out in the Government’s forthcoming carbon reduction plan how it intends to deal with this shortfall in decarbonisation.”

The MPs, however, have little to say on how it might meet the very unambitious CCC target for transport which is a 31% reduction on 2014 emissions. But they do note energy use per tonne of road freight has actually increased and suggest domestic transport now accounts for 24% of UK greenhouse gas emissions, and rising.

“The report shows that the Government is not doing enough to decarbonise transport and avoid building damaging infrastructure projects,” said Campaign for Better Transport sustainable transport campaigner Bridget Fox. “Stronger action to clean up polluting vehicles is welcome but ultimately the answer lies in reducing car dependency, getting more freight onto rail and investing in good quality public transport alternatives.”

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