Memorandum submitted by the Mayor of London
1. The Mayor of London welcomes the opportunity
to respond to the Environmental Audit Committee's Inquiry: Reducing
Carbon Emissions from Transport. Each year approximately 42
million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) are emitted
from the Greater London area. Emissions from transport activity
accounts for around 21% or nine million tonnes of this total.
2. The Mayor recognises that climate change
arising from increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2
and other greenhouse gases is a serious issue affecting London's
future. As a result, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and its
functional bodies are committed to the development and implementation
of a climate change mitigation strategy. With CO2 emissions
a significant and growing problem, Transport for London (TfL)
is aware of its responsibility to identify opportunities to reduce
CO2 emissions directly attributable to it's operation
of the public transport network, as well as pursuing initiatives
that will reduce emissions from the broader transport sector in
3. The Mayor also recognises that CO2
is not the only pollutant which contributes to climate change,
and it is necessary to consider other pollutants when addressing
climate change. Defra's Air Quality Expert Group's "Air Quality
and Climate Change" draft report has highlighted that black
carbon particulate matter (including diesel vehicles emissions)
as contributing to climate change.
4. The GLA is currently developing a Climate
Change Adaptation Strategy to identify the impacts and recommend
key actions to help London and Londoners prepare for inevitable
climate change. This will support existing Mayor's Air Quality
and Transport Strategy.
What progress the DfT is making
against key carbon reduction targets or forecasts included in
the Ten Year Plan (2000), the Climate Change Strategy (2000),
the 2004 Transport White Paper, the 2004 PSA, Powering Future
Vehicles (2004), and other documents.
5. The UK's general CO2 reduction
target of 20% from the 1990 baseline by 2010 and longer term aspiration
of a 60% reduction from 2000 levels by 2050 provide a degree of
focus to the DfT's efforts to reduce CO2 emissions
from transport. It is generally accepted that transport CO2
emissions will rise over the years to 2010 as population and per
capita trip growth offsets (and most likely exceeds) improvements
in energy efficiency. Recognising this and the relationship between
population density, transport modal split and CO2 emissions,
the Mayor and TfL are in the process of developing transport sector
specific targets. These targets will guide the development of
reduction strategies in the short (2010), medium (2015-25) and
long term (2050). It may prove valuable for the DfT to develop
similar transport targets for regions and the UK as a whole.
6. It is important to note the Government's
objective to "put climate change at the heart of its work"
does not necessarily directly fit with carbon reduction targets.
Other pollutants contribute to climate change, this includes well-known
climate change gases, such as methane, NO2 and ozone and lesser
known global pollutants such as particulate matter (PM10) from
diesel vehicles (as highlighted in Defra's Air Quality Expert
Group's recent report).
7. In its Ten Year Plan (2000), the DfT
highlighted a variety of London-specific transport outcomes and
targets. Many of these targets relate to the promotion of public
transport, which in most cases will serve to reduce overall CO2
emissions. There are also targets relating directly to reductions
in road traffic, by far the largest contributor to transport CO2
emissions in London, accounting for more than 80% of emissions.
TfL and the GLA, working in conjunction with DfT, have made considerable
progress towards many of these objectives (described in §6.73).
Target: a 50% increase in the
number of bus passengers entering central London and across the
Progress: since 2000, the number
of people entering central London by bus during the morning peak
has grown by 59%. The total number of bus trips taking place across
all of London has increased by 36% over the same period (source:
London Travel report 2005).
Bus journey times
Target: a 10% reduction in average
bus journey times, with larger reductions in key corridors, plus
significant improvements in reliability, with long unscheduled
waits largely eliminated.
Progress: average waiting times for
high frequency bus services have decreased by 18% since 2000,
with average excess wait times reducing by 50% over the same period
(source: London Travel report 2005).
Target: a possible 10%-15% reduction
in road traffic in central London as a result of the Congestion
Progress: since its introduction
in February 2003, the central London Congestion Charging Scheme
has resulted in a reduction in the total volume of traffic entering
the zone during charging hours of 18%.
8. In addition to these specific examples,
TfL and the GLA are in the midst of implementing a five year,
£10 billion major investment programme that will see major
improvements to the capacity and quality of Underground services,
relief of localised traffic congestion, expansion of the existing
Congestion Charging Zone, extension of the Docklands Light Railway
and improvements to other commuter rail services. Considerable
investment is also directed to a travel demand management programme,
to encourage mode shift through school, workplace and personalised
9. In its Powering Future Vehicles paper,
the DfT targeted that by 2012, 10% of all new car sales will be
cars emitting less than 100g/km. Achieving this target would seem
very ambitious given that in 2004 only 3% of new cars had tailpipe
emissions of 120g/km, with only a fraction of these achieving
less than 100g/km. However, the range of low carbon vehicles available
to consumers is expanding rapidly and it may be possible to dramatically
increase the proportion of new cars that are low carbon in the
next few years. Innovative mechanisms must be explored to promote
consumers to purchase these vehicles in preference to more polluting
alternatives. Subject to testing and pricing, options could include
cash incentives or preferential finance for purchasers of low
carbon cars, significant tax increases for vehicles emitting CO2
over a threshold limit, favourable treatment by existing and future
road user charging schemes and parking restrictions, general advertising
campaigns to highlight environmental and operating cost benefits
of purchasing low carbon vehicles.
10. It is vital that the promoted vehicles
mitigate climate change, rather than exhaust CO2 at
the expense of life cycle CO2 or other environmental
impacts. Defra's Air Quality Expert Group's "Air Quality
and Climate Change" draft report highlighted that the climate
change benefits of diesel over petrol are compromised if a full
analysis is made, which takes account of various issues, including
increased CO2 emissions at refineries and the contribution
of diesel PM.
11. In addition, it is vital that when identifying
"low-carbon" vehicles, the well to wheel CO2
emissions are considered. For example, refinery emissions of CO2
have increased disproportionately due to increasing diesel consumption
and the consequent fuel compositional requirements.
12. The Power Future Vehicles paper also
targets that approximately 20% of buses joining the fleet annually
will be low carbon. TfL is already trialling diesel hybrid and
hydrogen fuel cell buses in London. Once operational robustness
is verified, preferential purchase of low carbon buses to replace
existing vehicles or to expand the fleet will be dependent on
the provision of sufficient funding to cover any cost premium.
TfL expects the bulk of these low carbon buses in the short term
to be diesel hybrids, but has also begun work with the London
Hydrogen Partnership on their London Hydrogen Transport Programme.
This requires London to deliver 10-12 buses, and a range of other
vehicles, over the next 5 years, and procurement of these buses
has already begun. The DfT should look to explore ways of improving
the affordability of these buses.
13. In its Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation
feasibility report, the DfT suggests that 5% of the UK's road
transport fuel requirements be supplied by biofuels by 2010. With
biofuels accounting for only 0.25% of road fuel sales at present,
this target appears very challenging. The GLA and TfL believe
that further development of the UK's biofuel resources should
continue to be explored, but should also take into account any
dis-benefits associated with the production and use of these fuels
(e.g, there is some suggestion that combustion of biofuels may
result in increased emissions of NOx compounds and the impacts
of biofuel feedstock production).
Whether the DfT's carbon reduction
target is underpinned by a coherent strategy stretching across
the department's entire range of activities;
14. The DfT's strategy to reduce CO2
emissions appears logical and employs a portfolio approach to
confront this growing problem. It addresses the major source of
emissions from the sector, road transport, primarily through promotion
new technologies (eg, low carbon vehicles) and fuel sources (eg,
biofuels and hydrogen). It also advocates increased investment
in public transport to improve both capacity and the quality of
services. Other aspects of the strategy consider freight and aviation.
15. Whilst technological advancements offer
the prospect of greatly reduced energy consumption in the future,
the adoption of these technologies in the short to medium term
will be largely dependent on their commercial viability. With
global emissions of CO2 escalating rapidly as developing
nations become more industrialised the UK cannot afford to wait
for the market driven take-up of these technologies. Utilisation
of both "carrot" and "stick" policies tools
will be required to increase both the rate and depth of penetration
of low carbon technologies.
16. In addition to these measures, a greater
focus on demand-side measures is critical to minimise emissions
in the short term. Encouragement of walking and cycling, car clubs,
development and implementation of work, school and personalised
travel plans, and exploration of technology-enabled solutions
such as teleworking; must be promoted along with the prudent application
of harder demand management measures such as road user charging.
TfL has expanded it's travel demand management capability and
the budget to deliver mode change will increase from £13.9
million in 2005-06 to £30 million in 2007-08.
Whether the current balance
of expenditure between the DfT's objectives (as revealed in its
2005 departmental report, Annex A) adequately reflects the environmental
challenges it faces (see note 3);
17. Measurement of spending on specific
transport objectives, such as the environment, is very difficult.
Most transport initiatives seek to address multiple objectives.
For example how does one classify spending on a new articulated,
wheelchair accessible, diesel hybrid bus? It provides additional
capacity, whilst also improving reliability by reducing dwell
times at stops. Such a bus also provides mobility-impaired people
with greater access to community services and has the benefit
of reduced CO2, particulate and NOx emissions. It is
impossible to accurately allocate costs across these distinctly
different objectives. As a result, reporting processes attempting
to quantify spending on environmental issues tend to only capture
those projects where 80-100% of the derived benefit is environmental
in nature. As a consequence, spending on the environment is under
18. Realisation of the three DfT PSA objectives
not relating specifically to the environment will also help to
reduce transport-related CO2 emissions. The "provision
of efficient and reliable interregional transport systems"
(objective 1) and "improvements to the accessibility, punctuality
and reliability of local and regional transport systems"
focussing on "increased use of public transport" (objective
2) will both help to improve the relative attractiveness of public
transport options. Modal shift away from private transport achieved
as a result of efforts to meet objectives 1 and 2 will also help
to reduce overall CO2 emissions from the transport
sector. The department's fourth objective to "improve cost-
effectiveness" will ensure that funding is available and
prioritised for those projects from which greatest benefit will
be derived. Due to the interrelated nature of the objectives,
it is impossible to tell with any certainty if the DfT's planned
expenditure accurately reflects the magnitude of the environmental
challenge it faces.
What realistically the DfT could
achieve by 2010 and 2020 in terms of reducing transport-related
carbon emissions, and the role that demand management should play
in doing so;
19. In the years to 2010, take-up of low
carbon vehicles and biofuels are unlikely to have any tangible
effect on overall emissions from the transport sector. Travel
demand management, modal shift and other behavioural changes offer
the only real opportunities to significantly reduce emissions
during this timeframe. If such measures are exploited to the full,
it may be possible to constrain the anticipated growth in transport
20. However, during the decade following
2010, low carbon vehicles, together with the emergence of alternative
fuel sources, provide an opportunity to reduce emissions from
current levels. To ensure that maximum benefit is achieved as
soon as possible, the DfT should start its promotion of these
technologies amongst the general public now. As recognised in
its third annual report on the Powering Future Vehicles Strategy,
uptake of these vehicles will be initially slow, so advocating
the benefits of these vehicles now will hopefully bring forward
emission savings by several years.
What specific steps the department
should now take to reduce road transport carbon emissions and
congestion over the next decade.
21. Road user charging has proven to be
very successful in London. Traffic within the congestion charging
zone during charging hours has decreased by 18% since implementation
of the scheme, resulting in a corresponding reduction in CO2
emissions of about 20%. The DfT should continue to investigate
the potential benefits of a national road user charging scheme.
22. Develop targeted advertising campaigns
to promote public awareness of travel management options available
locally to reduce traffic levels (particularly school and workplace
travel plans, walking and cycling initiatives) and to educate
drivers on ways to carry out their travel in as sustainable a
manner as possible (eg, fuel economy benefits of smooth acceleration
and braking, driving at the speed limit).
23. Accelerate the market for low carbon
vehicles and alternative fuel sources, starting with raising awareness
amongst the general public now, and driving the development of
affordable, practical vehicles.
24. Continue, if not increase its investment
in public transport schemes, as these will continue to be more
energy efficient and less polluting from a passenger km perspective
for the foreseeable future. For example, incremental investment
in the existing commuter rail network in London is capable of
achieving substantial increases in public transport capacity and
quality at reasonable cost. This type of investment is critical
to maintaining sustainable economic growth in the capital. The
DfT must also commit itself to the funding of large scale projects
that will assure the long term ability to provide sustainable
transport options (eg, Crossrail).
25. Road freight accounts for about 25%
of all transport CO2 emissions. Investment is required
in the development of low carbon alternatives for both LGV and
HGV applications, as well as promoting the uptake of these vehicles
once available. Improving the energy efficiency of the freight
sector must be a priority. Initiatives to be explored should include
driver education, consolidation of distribution centres, promotion
of technologies to assist with journey planning and trip consolidation.
Such recommendations will integrated into TfL's freight strategythe
London Freight Plan (LFP)currently under development.
26. The Government should support national,
regional and local policies to reduce climate change pollutants
other than CO2. This includes diesel exhaust PM10 and
associated policies, including the London Low Emission Zone and
other air quality and transport initiatives.
In relation to the Department's low carbon vehicle
strategy, Powering Future Vehicles, the Committee is also specifically
interested in: whether the targets set out in the Powering Future
Vehicles strategy were adequate and what progress has been made
against them since 2002; and what organisations and funding sources
are involved, whether there is adequate coordination between them,
and whether the overall funding available and spent in support
of the strategy is adequate in view of the environmental challenges
DfT is facing.
27. On targets, please see response to first
inquiry, "technology-related targets".
28. There is little certainty about the
remit, availability and coordination between current funding opportunities
to support DfT's low carbon vehicle strategy, Powering Future
Vehicles, and together they fall very short of the level of funding
required. More specifically:
The transport arm of the Energy
Saving Trust have provided grants for cleaner and low carbon vehicles
and technologies, but these were withdrawn at very short notice,
causing severe problems for technology providers, especially SMEs
and the cleaner vehicle market. New funding for alternative fuel
infrastructure is welcome, but the level of support available
should be increased.
Although the DTI's recent announcement
on its intention to provide funding to demonstrate hydrogen and
fuel cell technology was welcome, it is unclear when this funding
will be available. Furthermore the level of support proposed will
be inadequate to achieving the real shift in progress that the
UK needs in this area to reduce the gap with the global leaders.
We would welcome clarity on how this funding and the DfT's planned
research funding for hydrogen infrastructures work together, and
how it may feed into support for stationary power initiatives
offered by DEFRA and the Carbon Trust.