Operator calls for targeted public investment and tougher tax regimes to reduce the quantity of cars on the UK’s roads
Stagecoach Group has called for tougher action on air quality as it launched its annual Green Week campaign.
The company said urgent action was particularly needed by central and local government to tackle the public health emergency, and said research shows too many cars and worsening traffic congestion is a major contributor to the 40,000 to 50,000 early deaths a year in the UK from air pollution.
To tackle the problem, Stagecoach is calling for:
- Continued investment by public transport operators in cleaner vehicle technologies;
- Tougher tax regimes and use of clean air zones to target vehicles and journeys which contribute most to pollution on a per-passenger basis;
- Focused taxpayer support where it will deliver the best value environmental benefit;
- Clearer promotion of switching from cars to public transport as the most effective route to tackling the twin scourges of urban congestion and air pollution; and
- Targeted public investment in bus priority measures and better transport interchanges.
Detailed research by Professor David Begg for Greener Journeys highlighted that across the country the congestion crisis is turning people away from bus travel and putting jobs in the industry and wider economy at risk. Stagecoach also drew on other research which has shown that Britain’s roads are now the most congested in Europe and that time wasted in the UK’s worst traffic jams will cost motorists £62bn by 2025.
Stagecoach Group CEO, Martin Griffiths, said: “Public transport has a crucial role to play in helping Britain beat the scourge of traffic congestion, pollution and poor air quality. Our cities are clogged with cars and people are literally dying as a result and we urgently need our politicians to take tough action on congestion to free up road space and let buses flourish.
“Our commitment to our environmental responsibility is central to our business and we are continuing to take steps to reduce our carbon footprint as well as working more widely with our partners to protect our environment. Green Week is a good chance for us to highlight our key messages around this but our work to tackle the challenge of climate change is something that goes on all year round.”
Stagecoach’s ninth annual Green Week began on World Environment Day – Monday, June 5. Throughout Green Week, Stagecoach aims to further raise awareness of environmental issues among staff and passengers through a series of events across its businesses. These will include green initiatives and competitions held in partnership with local schools across the country, a series of roadshows across the UK, employee and customer competitions, social media initiatives, interactive online activities and participation in local community events by Stagecoach employees.