David Cameron has announced plans for making transport greener, including:
- a new target to bring the average emissions level for new cars down to 100 grammes per kilometre by 2022 through an incentive programme which could include differential rates of duty, expanding the existing company car scheme, and exempting greener cars from parking and congestion charges;
- improving public transport.
Speaking at the launch he said: 'In the final phase of this local election campaign, we're setting out how people can Vote Blue and Go Green. Tackling climate change requires action on every front. As I saw for myself in the Arctic, the problem is truly global in scale. But the solutions are often local. In Oslo, I saw one part of the solution. In fact I not only saw it, I drove it - a Greenpeace car made from recycled plastic, with an electric engine.
'We must give people, particularly those living in our towns and cities, serious travel options that don't involve the car. Around a quarter of all car trips made are under two miles in length. If we're serious about tackling climate change - and, incidentally about improving public health too - we need to help make it possible for people to walk or cycle on these shorter journeys.
'We walk less than almost any other Western country bar Greece. And our cycling rate is 40 per cent below the EU average. That's bad for the environment, and bad for our long term health prospects. It's why Conservative councils are determined to make streets and public spaces safer and greener.
'We also recognise the need to improve public transport. In areas with good public transport, people drive less. So we will be developing plans to bring about a dramatic improvement in the state of public transport in the UK, and Chris Grayling and I will be making an announcement on urban public transport later in the week. We recognise the need for radical thinking to provide cleaner, greener transport in our towns and cities.
'But we all know that, particularly for families, there are times when car journeys are essential. So the solution is not to stop people owning and using cars, but to transform the cars we drive. I've swapped my government car for a hybrid with substantially lower emissions. It still produces too much carbon, but it's a move in the right direction.
'I want Britain to be at the forefront of international efforts to build a new generation of motor vehicles that are much less environmentally damaging. And today I'm announcing a radical Conservative agenda for green cars. Our goals are ambitious. We want to bring the average emission level from cars down to 100 grammes per kilometre for new cars by 2022, and for all cars on Britain's roads by 2030.
'Today, many families want to become greener, and they're looking for more options to go green. We should help them. A Conservative Government would help lead the move to greener cars by bringing forward an incentive programme that encourages and supports this technological transformation. We will develop significant incentives to encourage the ownership of newer, greener vehicles. One means would be through the tax system. There are various options, including differential rates of duty, and massively expanding the scope of the existing company car scheme. Local government too can encourage new generation vehicles by, for example, exempting them from parking and congestion charges.'