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Transport investment and youth railcard welcomed but budget puts diesel drivers ahead of children's lungs

22 Novemebr 2017

Responding to the Autumn Budget today (22 November), Campaign for Better Transport welcomed the investment in city transport, the new youth railcard and the new diesel levy, but said that by again freezing fuel duty, especially on diesel, the Chancellor was still putting the short term interests of diesel drivers ahead of the need to clean up the air in Britain's towns and cities. 

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said:

“We welcome the announcement of investments in city transport like the new trains in Tyne & Wear, the youth railcard, the emphasis on high density housing around urban transport hubs and extra taxes on diesel purchases, premium air fares and business jets. These are things we have been calling for and we’re glad to see the Chancellor has listened.

“However, by freezing fuel duty while again allowing rail fares to rise and ignoring help for buses altogether, the Chancellor has caved into the siren calls from the road lobby at the expense of real action on air pollution. The Clean Air Fund, support for electric vehicles and the tax on new diesels and company cars are welcome and will help, but while fuel duty remains frozen, more roads get built, and there's no real help to get rid of old diesels and reduce car use, pollution will continue to lead to thousands of premature deaths.

“This isn't even a Budget for motorists - for all the talk of driverless cars, there's nothing here to deal with the problems today like the £12bn backlog in local road maintenance, which consistently comes top of motorists' concerns, or other everyday transport like bus services. Over-emphasis on driverless cars risks ignoring the real promise of big data and mobility services to tackle traffic problems now, and talk of platooning lorries risks ignoring the potential that investment in rail freight would bring in cutting motorway congestion now. 

“The "millennial railcard" for 26-30s is of course welcome, but it's no substitute for a general freeze on rail fares this year or real rail fares reform such as season tickets for part time workers. 

“We’ll await the details of some of the headline announcements made today to see what they will mean in practice.”

ENDS

For further information please contact Richard Watkins on 020 7566 6494 / 07984 773 468 or chard.watkins@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. Read our Alternative Transport Budget here.
  2. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).