Government Reports

This article was published in 2020, in Magazine 147.

UK plans to accelerate decarbonisation of transport

One of the six strategic priorities for the Transport Decarbonisastion Plan
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Last summer, the UK Government vowed to achieve net zero emissions from trains, planes and cars in an effort to tackle climate change. The UK is legally bound to build a carbon neutral economy by 2050 and small steps have already been taken, including earlier this year the Treasury pledging £1bn for green transport. Since then, the Department for Transport has published its ‘Decarbonising Transport’ document which states clearly that ‘public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities’.

Around the same time, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a massive programme of road building over the next five years, which seems at odds with plans to end emissions. The £28.8 billion plan to expand Britain’s road network is set to be challenged by the same legal team which, in February, halted the Department for Transport’s plan to expand Heathrow. The team have stated that the plan breaches climate and air quality laws and the government’s legally binding commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The Transport Action Network campaign group are calling on the government to divert money saved on road building plans into public transport, rail freight, cycling and walking. On 21 April, they launched a £38,000 crowdfunder to pay for the legal challenge.

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Call for evidence on e-scooters and similar devices

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In May, Camcycle submitted a six-page response to the government’s call for evidence on micromobility devices such as e-scooters.

We noted some parallels with mobility aids and with Twist&Go e-bikes, and pointed out that the newly-legalised devices will not contribute to the Active Travel objectives. We concluded that, just as for Twist&Go, Type Approval is the way to check that devices are safe and fit-for-purpose.

We said that approved micromobility devices should be permitted on carriageways and cycling infrastructure, provided that lights are used at night. In addition, we think the law should be changed to ensure that mobility scooters are permitted on all forms of cycling infrastructure, with similar rules as for e-bikes.

Micromobility devices should not be permitted on footways, unless they are speed limited to 4mph, in a similar manner to the existing rules for mobility scooters.

Some micromobility devices may be useful as mobility aids for people with disabilities, and rules regarding their usage must be compliant with the Equality Act.