Monday, 24 January 2011

Intelligent Planning Response To Fuel Price Rises

Professor John Whitelegg, leading academic and spokesperson on sustainable development for the Green Party has strongly criticised government policies to tackle rising fuel prices.

Speaking on Granada TV he said: "Britain could not have got it more wrong if it tried. Government policy on this matter is bonkers and backwards. It needs to get its act together now before oil prices triple, as they inevitably will." "Even a quick look at Berlin or Zurich will show how intelligent planning and investment produces much less driving, much more walking, cycling and public transport and gives people real choices so they can dodge fuel price increases."

Referring to the difficulties facing many people in a time of austerity, he said: "The Green Party takes no satisfaction at all from steep price increases that cause upset and stress for families that are just going about their normal business. We would take a similar view about housing and food."

He highlighted the urgent need for change, concluding: "The Green Party response to this is to sort out our miserable transport and planning system to provide people with dramatic improvements in public transport. We would encourage walking and cycling and prevent counter-productive policies like the closing of 3000 post offices, which makes people travel further and pushes them to opt for the car."


Ken said...

I think the Labour government was wrong to abandon the fuel escalator. If this had been in place I reckon there would be fewer cars on the road right now.

However, it must be done the right way round. There is no point having more buses if people do not use them. There are already too many nearly-empty busses running around our towns and villages causing unnecessary pollution.

Adrian Windisch said...

Have you a source for your claim Ken. When I looked into this in the past I have found sone reasons.

Some buses are far too expensive, mostly due to privatisation. In Reading its £1.70 for a single, even for a short journey. For wo people it can be cheaper to drive and park.

A few buses are tied to planning refulations. In Reading we have one from GreenPark, that was a condition of it being built. But most of GreenPark is unused, so many buses are empty.

When ever I use a bus its crowded. Full of shoppers or commuters. I only wish it was cheaper, lets get people out if cars.

Ken said...

I agree that buses can be full in cities and on popular routes at certain times of day. However, there are too many buses – especially in rural districts that are running nearly empty. Even if we made bus travel free there would be a sizable hardcore of people who will never use them.

I think subsidizing is the wrong way round. It is expensive and bureaucratic and is subject to political interference. I am also aware of planning covenants that stipulate bus routes which, like subsidy, takes limited account of real demand.

In my view the simplest thing to do is to gradually increase the cost of fossil fuels as close to source as possible: i.e. (in our case) the North Sea and at our border. If this is done gradually we will surely see the return of local shops and facilities and even more farmer’s markets where the journey time to retail is much shorter

PS I also think that imports should be subject to duty based on miles travelled. Yes it will lead to global protectionism but I see no alternative.

Adrian Windisch said...

Still hoping for a link about this.

Its rural buses that have been under attack, they make less commercial sense than in towns so under privatisation were cut back. It means most rural people have little transport choice.

You make some good points about fossil fuel and farmers markets. This would make buses much better value, as car prises went up.

Ken said...

The link is my eyes. I see buses with two or three people on them most days.

However, a link you requested and a link you shall have (cuts to bus subsidies in Worcestershire). Whatever the rights or wrongs of this particular news story, the key quote is near the bottom of the report from the County Council Transport Chief who said "Some of these buses are empty".
Here is the link

Adrian Windisch said...

Interesting link Ken, lots of quotes in favor of rural buses.

I dont dispute that some of the many thousands of buses are empty, the point is, is it a large number.

You said it was, I asked for a link. I live in hope.

Ken said...

I don’t know if anybody has counted the amount of empty buses.

Personally I do not like pollution and so I do not like empty buses. I said ‘too many’ and you said ‘some’. I reckon that amounts to the same thing.

Whatever the number they represent pointless pollution.

Adrian Windisch said...

Not really Ken. If a bus service provides say a bus an hour all day, and most of the buses are full, that is cutting pollution and congestion.

Say just one of those buses is nearly empty. Would you cut the entire service? Dont throw baby out with bathwater.

weggis said...

@ Ken
Just because you see an empty bus on your journey doesn’t mean it was empty on its entire route!

Whenever I use the 169 or 128, usually coming home from the pub but not necessarily, they are sparsely used, mainly because I live at the terminus. If I use the 123 or 179 [different pubs and journeys] they are packed to the rafters, mainly because they are through routes [where I live] and terminate somewhere else.

kbos2hm said...

we all go on about high fule prices why dosnt the country just go green and have electric cars the goverment should spend some money on this why because at the end of the day oil is a fosil fule its going to run out eventualy so why not make the change now is it to expensive to move to electirc busses cars etc or is tecnology not ready for this yet or is it all about money the goverment wont be getting there cut or is it change people are afraid of change

Ken said...

kbos2hm, you say the government should spend some money on this. Why?

Surely the lowest cost option is to have the fuel price rise gradually. A move to alternatives, whether that is to electric cars, empty buses etc or less journeys altogether (my favourite) would result anyway without the need for massive infrastructure change.