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The upcoming spending review is an opportunity to improve the lives of people across the UK through a fundamental reprioritization of transport spending away from outdated, high-carbon infrastructure, and in favour of sustainable public transport. Greater investment will not only support the Prime Minister’s ambition to create thousands of new green jobs and help to regenerate communities across the UK, but it will also be essential to meet the government’s legally binding net zero commitment.
Transport is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK and a major cause of poor air quality. The Transport Secretary has acknowledged that in future “public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities”, and has confirmed some spending to make this happen. However, to truly unlock the levelling up potential of transport investment, we need to be far more ambitious.
To build a resilient future, connect left-behind communities and create thousands of jobs, the government should provide at least £10bn a year additional public investment in low carbon transport infrastructure across the UK and reallocate the funds earmarked for new road building under the £27bn road investment strategy in England (RIS2). This investment, supported by The Climate Coalition, would include:
- £3bn a year to provide free public transport for people on the lowest incomes
- £6bn a year to expand and electrify local and regional bus and train services, restore routes that were cut and switch buses and coaches to zero emission power
- At least £4bn extra over the next four years to deliver the government’s existing target of doubling cycling and increasing walking in England by 20255