The Transport Minister Jesse Norman says the UK’s ability to innovate in technology is putting the country in a position to achieve what he calls the world’s most challenging Net Zero goals as he promises laws on active travel will be brought forward if and when parliamentary time allows.
The Minister, whose remit covers decarbonisation and technology told the Interchange Conference in Birmingham that he spends a lot of time working out how to internationalise the work on tackling climate change. “We can’t think of this as a bordered world,” he said. “Climate change doesn’t stop at a border” and that the world needs to commit to similar 2040 goals as Britain.
He talked about the clean air plans local authorities are delivering, with technology “crucial” in achieving this. He called on co-operation and active engagement between government and local authorities to deliver Mobility as a Service, and that he will be bringing forward legislation to legalise e-scooter and other light electric vehicle use.
“The future transport bill is a topic very close to my heart,” he said. “It is something the government is cogitating. There is a whole bunch of different priorities but we’re doing it with great energy and diligence, but I can’t promise we’ll get the time. But we will do whatever we can to get this bill through.”
He then added, “This is a government that more than any other has pledged itself to innovation by technology with the promise itself a new department specifically focused on it.”
Earlier Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission told the meeting that the country has a problem with cross-country transport strategy, “inasmuch as we don’t have one”.
“The NIC is calling for a multi modal inter-urban transport strategy built around the singular vision to drive economic opportunity, narrow disparities between regions, protecting and enhancing the environment,” he said. “Developing such a strategy will require huge amounts of analysis and input from stakeholders particularly for sub national transport bodies. Road is and will remain the most viable connectivity option available.”
He said the speed of change to decarbonisation is not fast enough and therefore government may be forced to look at demand management measures such as road pricing “that may seem drastic, but we don’t think that doing nothing is a viable option”.
(Picture – Highways News)