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English councils urged to incentivise giving up private cars

Collaborative Mobility UK has called on local authorities to encourage citizens to abandon their vehicles and move to alternative, greener travel. 

Councils in England should actively incentivise residents give up their private cars and jump on shared transport or take up active travel. 

That’s the view of Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK), the national charity for the public benefit of schemes including car and e-bike sharing. The organisation has recommended ‘mobility credits’ for choosing alternative modes of travel, which could be used to offer reduced permit fees, better access to charging points and networks, citing the need to reduce car use faster in order to cut emissions by 78% within the next 13 years, and the target of Britain becoming a net zero nation by 2050. 

The recommendations go further still, though, and include establishing transport policies with indicators to measure progress and goals for reducing individual ownership, investing revenue from any Workplace Parking Levy schemes into shared transport, and including shared transport in low emission zone designs. There also needs to be more publicity and conversation around this offering as it is ‘frequently underrepresented in transport strategies’.

Private cars are currently the biggest contributor to the carbon and air pollution crisis, with greenhouse gases the greatest cause for concern in terms of climate change and proven to have a hugely detrimental impact on human and animal health, among other things. CO2 emissions alone are around 37% lower in car club vehicles that the UK average, largely thanks to the age of stock and good maintenance. However, 11% of all models in these schemes are now electric, dwarfing the 1% of private models that are EVs.  

‘Shared transport schemes are already doing heavy lifting on decarbonisation but can go much further with greater support and should be employed right across England. They provide an alternative to car ownership, and, together with public and active transport, shared transport reduces greenhouse gas emissions, poor air quality and congestion,’ said Richard Dilks, chief executive of CoMoUK.

‘Shared transport also offers a solution to transport poverty for low-income households and provides flexible access to vehicles without the upfront purchase cost,’ he continued. ‘Currently, shared transport remains underrepresented in the transport strategies and delivery plans of English local authorities.We believe further support is needed if the full benefits that sustainable transport can offer are to be achieved.’

A recent study highlighted the clear link between traffic emissions, air pollution and human health, meanwhile car club membership in the UK has doubled in the last 12 months

Image credit:  Joseph Chan

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