High Speed 2 the route to a stronger economy

Responding to the Judicial Review of High Speed 2, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Transport Parliamentary Committee, Alan Reid said today, “Liberal Democrats were the first political party to back a new High Speed Rail Network in the UK. This is a fantastic investment in our infrastructure and will help to build a stronger economy.

“The first phase will support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs, while phase two will support around 100,000 jobs across the country, regenerating areas around the route and bringing new services and amenities for local communities.

“Increasing rail capacity is also good for the environment and is expected to dramatically reduce our reliance on domestic flights and transfer nine million journeys from road to rail. Even those cities not directly on the network after phase two will benefit, with journeys between London and Edinburgh reduced by almost an hour.”

Delivering local growth while cutting emissions

Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Norman Baker has announced a £266m investment in local green transport schemes, bringing the total invested to more than £1bn.

The Liberal Democrat Local Sustainable Transport Fund was announced in 2010 following the Coalition commitment to “support sustainable travel initiatives, including the promotion of cycling and walking”. The fund supports projects across the country that will bring local economic growth while cutting carbon emissions from travel.

Commenting, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on Transport, Julian Huppert said:

“For two decades Liberal Democrats have called for proper support for green transport. Our support for active transport, such as walking and cycling, has been unrelenting. It’s sustainable, cheap and good for you, but successive Governments have consistently ignored our calls.

“I am delighted to see Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government delivering proper investment to promote growth and cut carbon emissions.

“With a large cycling component in most of these funds, the Coalition is investing hundreds of millions to promote cycling.

“Local, sustainable growth is what the country needs right now, and it’s what we’re delivering.”

£15m for green buses

Over 150 new low carbon buses will join fleets throughout England saving around 50,000 tonnes of CO2 thanks to £15m of additional Government funding, Lib Dem Transport Minister Norman Baker MP announced today.

The funding is intended to put low carbon buses within the reach of as many operators and local authorities as possible throughout England.

Bus operators and councils can bid for the money which they can then use towards the additional up front cost of buying low carbon buses.

Transport Minister Norman Baker said, “We want to support new transport technologies to help make our transport system greener and more sustainable.

“This investment will stimulate the market for low carbon buses by reducing some of the initial costs for operators and councils. It will deliver significant benefits, in particular reducing the impact of road transport on climate change and improving air quality.”

Low carbon buses use at least 30 per cent less fuel and emit nearly a third less carbon than a conventional bus, yet they currently make up just 0.2% of buses on the road.

The funding will support investment in more low carbon buses as well as addressing the information gap about their performance by requiring the winning bidders to share information with others in the industry.

Tameside MEP fights for fuel efficient cars

Car drivers are getting more miles to the gallon out of their vehicles, with big improvements still to come. Tameside’s Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies says that fuel efficiency is set to increase by by 20% over the next six years.

Car manufacturers are gearing up to meet the requirements of a new EU law that forces them to reduce CO2 emissions from the fuel they burn. Latest figures for the 12 million cars sold in Europe in 2008 reveal that average emissions were down by 3.3%, the largest fall since records began to be kept a decade ago.

Our Liberal Democrat Euro-MP Chris Davies, who helped negotiate the new law, says that the manufacturers are introducing long overdue changes.

He said: “They were slow to start, but car builders are now being forced to curb CO2 emissions.

“Vehicles are becoming more fuel efficient and this will help to keep down the cost of driving.”

Average emissions from new cars sold in the UK during 2008 stood at 158.2 gCO2/km compared to a European average of 153.5 gCO2/km. Across Europe currently 47.3% of car sold are fuelled by petrol, 51.4% by diesel, while 1.3% use alternative power sources.