26 July 2017
Scrapping diesel is not the end of the problem.
Michael Gove has announced today that diesel vehicles will be banned from 2040.
Pippa Bartolotti, Wales Green Party Deputy leader said, “ Gove is just spouting the lines of his brief, and shows no imagination for coping with the wider implications of pollution in a car-bound society. The current road-building programme, such as the proposed M4 across the Gwent levels, will bring even more cars onto the roads, cancelling out the benefits of what is being proposed. Westminster has also cancelled electrification of the remaining railways, forcing Wales into a dirty fuel future, when in fact with our access to abundant renewable energy we could be one of the cleanest countries in the world."
Norway, Netherlands, and France have already adopted electric road vehicles, and crucially they have invested in a decent re-charging network.
Bartolotti added, “Gove has missed the chance to talk about a new green industrial revolution, investment in energy storage and infrastructure. This was the time to talk about reducing the need for road travel, localisation of supply chains and upgrading the public transport network. We need clean air zones in our urban centres and measures to help us all switch to clean public transport and walking and cycling for our everyday journeys.
Grenville Ham, Wales Green Party Leader said. “The green industrial revolution could happen inside or outside Single Market. The whole issue is proof that, contrary to Tory ideologues, big matters cannot be left to the market. Gove’s recent moves expose how shallow Labour is on the really big issues such as a clean energy future. There is clear green water between the Green Party and the rest of politics, massive subsidies to fossil fuel companies are continuing at the expense of our health and our productivity.
“Fixing the problem of polluted air in our towns and cities needs much more than the promise of a ban by 2040, by which time hundreds of thousands of people will have died from causes related to polluted air. We face inter-related problems of pollution, inactivity related obesity, and public health funding crises. This needs the imagination to see beyond car use as the main way to travel.
“We know diesel and petrol are poisoning our air but switching to electric cars is just not going to make the difference needed to clean up our air and let people trust the air we breathe. We will still be left with street-clogging congestion, lethal pm2.5 particle pollution and the misery of road danger.
“The govt should be investing in rail electrification, electric buses and networks of routes for walking and cycling. The important thing is not diesel scrappage for individuals but providing affordable access to work, education, health care and shops. If the government had any imagination they would see the unmitigated disaster of air pollution as an opportunity to rid our towns cities and villages of the problems of congestion, parking and noise while improving people's health and cutting NHS costs. “