Greens: transport plans on

Environmentalists have slammed a new Government strategy aiming to make the UK's transport network more sustainable.

The Green Party and Greenpeace said the framework was in conflict with targets to reduce the country’s impact on climate change and did not adequately tackle the aviation industry.

Transport secretary Ruth Kelly unveiled the framework, entitled Towards a Sustainable Transport System, on Tuesday setting out plans to identify emissions reductions targets for transport and continue to push for an emissions trading policy on aviation.

Other proposals included investment in the railway network, road widening schemes on a number of major transport arteries, including the M62 and M25, and urban congestion charging.

Ms Kelly said: “Our aim is to support people’s desire for mobility whilst ensuring that transport contributes to the overall reduction in carbon emissions.

“This framework document will help us deliver a transport system that meets that aim and dispels the myth that as an economy we face the false choice of being ‘poor and green’ or ‘rich and dirty’.

“It gives us the opportunity to deliver, for the first time, a pro-green/pro-growth agenda for transport in the short and medium term.”

However, the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas MEP said the policy was on a “collision course” with the UK’s climate change targets because its number one goal was maximising economic competitiveness.

She said: “We need to get away from the idea that soaring pollution and an ever-rising number of cars on the road and planes in the sky are a symbol of economic prosperity.”

Greenpeace called for ministers to use the policy to stand up to the aviation industry and block plans for airport expansions.

Executive director John Sauven said: “When it comes to aviation and climate change, this government becomes detached from reality.

“Without blocking plans for new runways we’ll continue to tinker ineffectively with Britain’s fastest growing source of emissions.”

Kate Martin

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