The Transport Challenge
The Transport sector is responsible for approximately a fifth of emission covered by the Welsh 3% reduction target. Emissions have reduced in recent years due to improved fuel efficiency of new cars and a reduction in road traffic. However there is more that needs to be done to encourage modal shift and get people out of their cars.
The Climate Change Commission for Wales believes it is vital that Wales accepts the transport challenge to reduce emissions from travel.
• Clear strategy and support for efficient, low emission (electric) vehicles
• A long-term investment strategy from government to develop safe walking and cycling routes to schools as part of implementing the Active Travel Act
• Review the proposed M4 relief road, and direct investment to support more sustainable forms of transport across and between Welsh cities
The Welsh Government Active Travel Act came into law in Wales in 2014, following a campaign led by Sustrans Cymru, and places a legal duty on all local authorities in Wales to consult with local communities and develop safe routes for walking and cycling. Evidence shows that the easiest way for most people to get more exercise is to build it into their daily routine. The Active Travel Act aims to get more people walking and cycling for short local trips as part of tackling the obesity epidemic and reducing congestion. The Active Travel Act is the first law in the world that makes road planners consider walkers and cyclists. It could make Wales one of the best countries to travel by walking, cycling or scooting. Sustrans is currently working with local authorities across Wales to audit routes, engage the community with consultations and design and distribute cycle maps for the general public. Their manifesto for the next Welsh Government wants to ensure these networks are put in place and more action is taken which can be found on their website here – http://www.sustrans.org.uk/sites/default/files/file_content_type/sustrans_cymru_policy_ask_for_2016_assembly_election_english.pdf
Carmarthenshire County Council
Carmarthenshire County Council were the first authority in Wales to unveil the inclusion of new electric cars into its vehicle fleet. The council introduced Carmarthenshire Electric Vehicles (CEV) in March 2011 as part of its co-ordinated pool car system for council staff. The fully electric vehicles were manufactured by Mitsubishi, named i-MiEV and boast zero running emissions and can be plugged in to any UK three-pin 13A socket, and cost just 96p for a full charge. They have a range of 90 miles and can be charged from flat to full in six hours, and to 80 per cent in just 30 minutes. Two cars were funded as part of a £500,000 sustainable transport initiative in Carmarthen, paid for by Welsh Assembly Sustainable Travel Centres funding. Carmarthen was one of only four areas in Wales to secure the funding, which has paid for a series of improvements including walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure. Transport energy consumption and associated emissions posed a significant challenge to the town and region but now there are 5 electric vehicles part of the fleet and other local authorities are now undertaking similar projects.
City Car Club
City Car Club’s mission is to convert the way the nation thinks about travel, to reduce car usage by discouraging unnecessary trips, encouraging the use of public transport and to reduce congestion and pollution. In 2010 City Car Club launched Wales’ first car club in Cardiff with ten low-emission cars located in designated parking bays across the city including the city centre, Cathays, Pontcanna, Riverside, Roath and Cardiff Bay. City Car Club has a strict low-emissions policy on fleet selection meaning that only the lowest emitting vehicles are available. On average City Cars emit 37% less CO2 than those they replace the fleet already includes many hybrid vehicles as well as the fully electric Nissan Leaf.
Independent research by Carplus shows that an average of 25 private cars are taken off the road for every car club car. This is because new members often sell their own car or defer buying one. That means over 13,500 cars have been taken off the road by the City Car Club fleet.
Enterprise – Rent a car
Enterprise are committed to fostering innovation, new vehicle technologies and sustainable solutions. They are committed to understanding their environmental impact and are adopting measures to reduce it. Their Environmental Platform forms the basis of their commitment to current and future sustainable initiatives. Enterprise acquire the most fuel-efficient and low-emission vehicles on the market today. The vast majority of our fleet is sourced locally, with a retail value amounting to around £40,000,000 in 2013. These vehicles are then serviced, maintained and repaired locally. Enterprise have also worked closely with the SD Charter in Wales to improve on their community engagement and equality and diversity in the workplace.
Carplus UK carried out a study for the Commission in 2014/15 to identify the current level of car club development in Wales and the potential to employ measures to support car clubs in Wales. The study explored the potential carbon reduction benefits of such a programme.
Following a 4-month research phase, which included interviews, a stakeholder workshop and a wider online survey, they concluded that car clubs in Wales are relatively underdeveloped and to date there has been no co-ordinated programme aimed at kick starting activity in promising urban and rural areas.
To achieve growth from the current low base of 5 car clubs and around 450 members to a level where car clubs are accessible to all will take up to a decade. This is achievable but requires a development strategy consisting of technical support, sharing of know-how and kick start funding. Carplus have proposed support for the establishment of car clubs and corporate car-sharing in new locations – as well as support to expand the existing network – and these are being considered by Welsh Government.
The Welsh Government wants to improve transport in order to keep Wales connected, improve the economy, and safeguard our environment. A Transport Strategy was produced in 2008 and last year they consulted on a National Transport Finance Plan which was published in July 2015. There are currently plans for a new Metro system across the Cardiff Capital Region and the electrification of the South Wales main railway line.
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