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September under magnifying glass

September has been a busy month in the transport industry. With all schools in the UK now back full-time, there has been a big focus on the green school run and avoiding using cars more in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many local authorities increased public transport services in preparation for children returning to school and parents returning to work.

Also this month, there’s been a lot of activity with electric vehicles, as the government steps up plans to end the sale of all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 (or earlier depending on results of a current consultation). And in rail, construction has now officially started on the HS2 project.

Below we take a look in more detail at what’s been happening this past month in our core policy areas of transport and gender diversity. 

E-mobility

Electric vehicles (EVs)

It was great to see the first ever World EV Day this month. To tie in with this, the government announced £12m in funding for groundbreaking electric vehicle research projects. Also, Highways England announced a £9.3m scheme to allow businesses to try electric vehicles for free before they buy.

Other news in Electric Vehicles this month:

  • Low Carbon Transport Loan in Scotland is extended to cover used electric vehicles.
  • The number of electric cars sold in the UK in August more than doubled from the same month last year.

Research published this month relating to electric vehicles:

  • Electric Vehicle sales are expected to reach 45million units per year by 2040, according to a study by energy research and consultancy group, Wood Mackenzie.
  • In a poll of over 17,000 drivers by the AA, almost half said they will consider buying an electric vehicle when they change their car. The same survey found:
    • Women were more likely than men to consider an electric car.
    • Respondents aged 65+ were significantly less likely to consider an electric car.
    • Those living in London were more likely to consider buying an electric car.
  • A nationwide survey by the UK’s automotive trade body found that 44% of motorists don’t think they’ll be ready to run an electric vehicle by 2035.

Support and infrastructure for EVs is on the increase:

  • The UK’s first electric car forecourt with 30 chargers is nearing completion in Essex.
  • Major electric charging hubs have opened at railway stations in Hatfield and Norton.
  • Due to popular demand, the AA will be rolling out a new dedicated EV support package.

Electric scooters and bikes:

  • This month saw the beginning of e-scooter trials throughout the UK in towns and cities including:
    • Birmingham
    • Coventry
    • Milton Keynes
    • Cambridge
    • Newcastle 
    • Stafford 
  • Cities including Portsmouth and York have also announced proposed trials. 
  • In Leeds, commuters can now borrow an electric bike free of charge for up to two weeks as part of a new council initiative to promote sustainable travel.

Public transport

Ridership:

  • In early September, three million fewer passengers travelled on Britain’s trains than this time a year ago. 
  • The total number of journeys were just 38% of the same day in 2019. 
  • On Monday 7thSeptember footfall in the UK’s major stations increased by 12% compared to the previous Friday. 
  • Bus travel in London on the same day increased by 39% when compared with the previous Tuesday.
  • On the Tube, the number of passengers passing through ticket barriers on 7thSeptember rose by 15% compared with the previous Tuesday.

Roads

Congestion:

  • Recent figures show congestion levels in outer London are higher now than they were before lockdown. 
  • The most congested day so far was Monday 7thSeptember, when traffic on roads outside the capital’s central congestion charging zone were at 153% of 2019 levels.
  • Congestion within the central charging zone has however dropped to just over half of 2019 levels.

Green recovery

The congestion figures show there’s still lots more to do to encourage the green recovery from Covid-19. But there have been some exciting initiatives taking place this month that will help:

  • In London, it’s been confirmed that fifty miles of bus lanes are to be enforced on a 24/7 basis as part of a trial to discourage a car-led recovery from coronavirus. 
  • In Scotland, the government has awarded over £9.75million to 19 bus and coach operators to retrofit nearly 600 exhausts in 2020/21 to cut harmful emissions.
  • September saw the government launch the latest round of over £1m of funding available to innovative transport start-ups with projects focusing on decarbonisation or Covid-19 recovery. 
  • The development of a new city-wide Metro in Glasgow is to be made a priority to help with the recovery from the economic impact of the coronavirus.
  • Work has officially started on the first stage of HS2, the new high-speed railway that will connect London, the Midlands and the North of England. 
  • HS2 is at the centre of government plans to ‘build back better’ and is set to create around 22,000 jobs.

Active travel

Active travel is a major part of the green recovery and it’s encouraging to see new developments this month: 

  • Findings from a survey of Scotland’s transport and travel habits found the proportion of journeys under 2 miles made on foot rose to 48% in 2019 from 44% in 2018.
  • In London, Transport for London and Living Streets unveiled a new ‘Central London Footways Map’, which will be distributed to those living in the city for free. It provides information about walking in the capital, and highlights a network of ‘quiet and interesting’ streets in central London.

Gender Diversity

This month saw International Equal Pay Day, which acknowledges the efforts to ensure equal pay for equal work across the globe. To tie in with this, there were calls from across the political spectrum for the government to rethink the suspension of gender pay gap reporting at this critical time, and keep fighting to close the gap.(The government suspended mandatory gender pay gap reporting at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year).

Women on boards

Lots of encouraging news about women on boards this month:

  • The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reported that women make up more than one third of all board members across the FTSE 350 for the first time ever.
  • All-male boards at FTSE 350 companies have reduced from 152 in 2011 to just one in 2020
  • The Federation of Master Builders has elected its first female President. Jan Etchells was elected as National President earlier this month.

We hope you found this roundup interesting and informative. Please contact us if you would like further information, or to find out more about the public affairs and diversity services we offer. Or sign up to our blog.