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Road transport emissions see continued rise since 1990

Motors | Published:

Figures have been on the up despite push towards efficiency

Summer travel getaway

The amount of greenhouse gases produced by road transport has continued to increase since 1990 despite a marked effort to improve efficiency and drive down emissions.

It’s because, according to government figures, traffic has increased by a third in that time, making for a six per cent rise in greenhouse gases over the past three decades.

The new report from the Office for National Statistics has said that cutting the amount of emissions generated on the UK’s roads remains a significant challenge.

Despite the efficiency of vehicles increasing, it has been offset by rising traffic rates – up from 255bn miles travelled a year in 1990 to 328bn years in 2018.

Greenhouse gas levels peaked in 2007, prior to the number of vehicles on the UK’s roads falling following the financial crisis. However, since 2013 they have continued to rise with more than 118m tones of CO2 produced during 2017.

Jenny Bates, campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Despite noise made by vehicle manufacturers about cleaner petrol and diesel technology, transport is still the most climate polluting sector and it’s clear petrol and diesel sales have to stop as soon as possible. Admittedly there has been some progress but the ever-increasing number of car miles is still locking us in to a high carbon future, as well as causing health-damaging air pollution.

“The only way to stop transport from leading us to further climate breakdown is to drastically cut the miles travelled by car. Cleaner options – such as bicycles, buses and trains – need to me made more accessible and more affordable, which will be good for the health of people and the planet.”

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