Last year, over 60% of journeys in the UK were made by car – accounting for 77% of the total distanced travelled.
Many of us depend on our cars to get to work, fulfil our caring responsibilities and make necessary trips. However, our reliance on petrol and diesel fuelled cars is unsustainable. We have set ourselves the target of net zero by 2050– and, if we are going to meet it, the way we get around has to change.
This matters because the climate emergency is escalating. Last year, I had the privilege of meeting Greta Thunberg and, as her powerful speeches make clear, we risk passing the point of no return in terms of global warming if we do not change course urgently.
In the UK, transport accounts for around a third of all carbon dioxide emissions, and road transport makes up most of this figure. With the government set to ban the sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 in a bid to reduce emissions, are electric vehicles the way forwards?
There are certainly positive signs. Last year, the number of public charging points overtook the number of petrol stations in the UK. A new electric car is registered every 9 minutes. Electric car owners benefit from grants and tax breaks, with some local councils also offering free parking.
This is all great news – but the fact remains that less than 1 in every 150 cars on UK roads is powered by electricity. If we are going to increase that number, we need more charging points, better and cheaper technology, and a shift in our attitudes.
Sustainable Huddersfield is holding an online event on the future of transport to ask a range of experts about these challenges and opportunities. Locally, a transport system that meets people’s needs and reduces environmental impact is key to becoming a greener, fairer and more prosperous town.Join us on Wednesday 27th January at 5pm to hear more about we need to do to make cars work for people and the planet.