At War With The Motorist

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The UK government has declared that they are "ending The War On The Motorist". These are our correspondents' dispatches from the front lines of their policies.
Updated: 7 hours 24 min ago

The government has no plan for decarbonising transport

14 July, 2021 - 11:37

There is much excitement in the transport sector, as the government has finally announced that they have published the long-awaited Transport Decarbonisation Plan. Social media is full of ministers with fancy videos claiming that they are doing something significant.

So I rushed to the Department for Transport section of gov.uk and read what they have published. And I’m afraid it will be a massive disappointment.

There is no plan to decarbonise transport.

The government has not published any new actions that it will be taking to decarbonise transport. There is no plan for modal shift, there is no plan for decarbonisation of individual polluting modes and sectors. The government have made no commitments and have no policies.

For all their talk, Grant Shapps and his ministers are doing nothing at all to decarbonise transport in the UK. It’s business as usual on the Department for Transport website.

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I am, of course, being tediously faux naive for an annoying rhetorical effect.

What the DfT have actually done is follow their established and predictable media strategy of putting out a press release, fancy social media and a statement saying they’ve published something, but conveniently neglected to actually publish it until sometime much later, hoping to saturate media with their selected talking points for long enough that the story is old news before anybody has the actual substance in their hands to read, report, scrutinise and respond to.

This kind of media strategy is insulting at the best of times.

At a time when people are desperate to hear some actual substance about how we’re going to get through the crisis we face, it deserves to be treated with the contempt that it shows us.

So please, when the DfT try to use you like this, if you’re going to run with it, at least tell it like it is. The government is all talk. It has no plan to decarbonise transport.

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South Gloucestershire want you to believe that building roads is the solution to climate change

18 June, 2021 - 00:35

South Gloucestershire are consulting on expanding road capacity, and to justify it they cite their Climate Emergency declaration and tell us that building roads will solve climate change.

As a local issue, I’ve written about it elsewhere. But it covers lots of themes that are really At War With The Motorist material: zombie road schemes, highways departments who have never yet seen a problem for which they won’t suggest building roads is the solution, no matter how absurd, and councils who sell you road building with the empty promise that it will be accompanied with investment in public transport, active travel or liveable neighbourhoods.

Read the post here.

It’s on a new blog I’ve been trying out for local things, tentatively called Bristolize (I don’t really like the name or its associations, I just haven’t thought of a better one yet). The other posts on it so far are perhaps a little bit in the style of Crap Cycling & Walking Waltham Forest, and clearly starting it is inspired by feeling a little bit nostalgic for the 2008-12 era blogosphere and very jaded with the social media that killed it off. I’m not sure I’ll keep it up for long, but I might have fun with it for a little while.

Read and subscribe to Bristolize here.

Categories: Views