Make temporary active travel infrastructure permanent

Friends of the Earth has released a list of 27 actions that local authorities can take to reduce car use, including making temporary active travel infrastructure permanent.

Working with Transport for Quality of Life, the charity stresses that rapid reductions in car mileage are needed if the UK is to do its fair share in cutting global carbon emissions. It is now calling for local authorities across the country to, on average, double the proportion of journeys by public transport, cycling and walking.

While a lot of these changes come within their remit, the organisations argue that it’s crucial that central government steps up and gives more support and funding for local authorities to act on the climate crisis.

Among the recommendations, Friends of the Earth says that councils should: establish a network of remote working hubs; authorise cheap e-bikes for key workers and jobseekers; re-regulate and improve bus services; stop subsidising or encouraging free parking; amend local plans and develop only where excellent public transport is included; and cancel local spending on road building and redirect to public transport and active travel.

Mike Childs, head of science at Friends of the Earth, said: “The way we get around has a big impact on the planet. Transport has been a stubborn sector for cutting climate-wrecking emissions for years now, so 2021 needs to be the year that changes. Local authorities have a massive role to play in supporting their residents to move from cars to bikes and buses.

“A lot of these changes are within their power to make and places such as Hackney and Nottingham are already doing amazing work on transport. But this doesn’t mean central government can just sit back and relax. Local authorities are underfunded and under supported, with years of austerity taking its toll. Westminster must give proper funding and support so local areas can act on the climate crisis.”