Green Transport

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Transport is currently responsible for more than a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions, and these emissions are rising rapidly. The growth of road and air transport, which is powered mainly by fossil fuels, has resulted in a significant rise in greenhouse gas emissions from this sector over the past decade.

The Department for Transport (DfT) recognises that the transport sector needs to play a key role in helping to deliver cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Yet some means of transport are more sustainable [less carbon intensive] than others. Recent Government figures show that for the journey between London and Edinburgh:

  • by rail, the average passenger is responsible for about 12 kilograms of CO2 emissions from an electric powered train;
  • by car, the journey burns up 70 kgs of CO2 per passenger;
  • by air, the figure is nearly 100 kgs of CO2.

Road transport emits six times more CO2 per passenger mile than rail, but motoring costs have fallen in recent years. Meanwhile, rail is far more carbon efficient, but rail fares have increased steeply.

Related links

This ToUChstone pamphlet argues that a move to a greener economy would allow the UK to kick-start growth at a time of recession and create jobs, with electric vehicles providing a major opportunity to help the UK motor industry towards a sustainable long-term recovery. Unlocking Green Enterprise (2009)

This groundbreaking report sets out the TUC’s view on a sustainable transport strategy. Greening the Workplace (2005)

A DfT consultation paper. Delivering a Sustainable Transport System: Consultation on Planning for 2014 and Beyond
http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations

Treasury-commissioned reports on the vehicle and fuel technologies that could help to decarbonise road transport over the next 25 years. The King Review of Low-Carbon Cars Part I: The Potential for CO2 reduction (2007) and Part II: Recommendations for Action (2008)
http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/bud_bud08_king_review.htm


Report and rich information source from ETUC workshops on sustainable transport in 2013, with TUC contributions from Andrew Cassey (CWU) and Colin Potter (Unite). ETUC is holding a concluding conference in Brussels on 7 May and developig new policy thereafter. You can see an update here: http://www.etuc.org/a/10684
26 March 2013
Commenting on the report published today (Tuesday) by the Green Investment Bank Commission, led by Bob Wigley, which sets out a number of proposals for how such a bank could operate, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
29 June 2010
Commenting on the Government's consultation on its low carbon skills strategy, announced today (Wednesday), TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
31 March 2010
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “The TUC welcomes the Government's proposals to develop a sustainable transport strategy for the UK, recognising the central importance of transport in delivering economic success and CO2 reductions.
30 October 2007