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February with magnifying glass

During February we saw the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport launch its 21 point plan for transport and logistics to achieve net zero by 2050. The report includes recommendations for the government including setting carbon budgets for the transport sector, mandating the use of sustainable fuel, and continuing to incentivise the take-up of electric vehicles.

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

 

 

 

Active Travel
Public Transport
Buses
Rail Infrastructure
E-mobility
Electric Vehicles
E-Scooters
E-Bikes
Diversity

Active Travel

  • Bury is set for a £1.3m investment as part of the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund. The investment will deliver new crossings, improved access and bridges and shared paths for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • New data released from Transport for London’s annual cycle count shows a 22% increase in cycling in outer London between spring 2019 and autumn 2020.
  • A Northern Ireland Department of Infrastructure report has revealed that between 2014 and 2019 no children aged 12 to 18 cycled to and from school. The report says a lack of safe and segregated routes is one of the main reasons for the lack of cycling among children.
  • Figures from the Department for Transport’s National Travel Attitudes Survey show active travel with the biggest increases:
    • 34% of cyclists are cycling more since the first cases of coronavirus were reported a year ago, and 95% say they will continue to cycle more once travel restrictions social distancing measures are lifted.
    • 38% of people who walk for transport also said they were doing so more since the pandemic began, and 94% say they will continue this once restrictions are removed.
  • A study led by researchers from the University of Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit has found that swapping the car for active travel, even just one day a week, could reduce people’s carbon footprint by about 0.5 tonnes over a year.
  • Edinburgh City Council is introducing its first ‘Quiet Route’ in the south of the city, to improve safety for children walking, cycling and wheeling to school, plus the many others who use the route.
  • Transport for West Midlands has launched the trial of its new Cycle Hire Scheme, which features five docking stations and 25 bikes in Sutton Coldfield for the next month.
  • A new report from NatureScot, Sustrans and Scottish Canals shows users of Scotland’s National Walking and Cycling network spend £1.9m in the local economy during 2019, demonstrating huge benefits of the network for the economy, tourism, health and wellbeing.
  • Birmingham City Council has been awarded a further £4.5m to boost active travel and support green recovery. The money, which is part of the second round of funding from the DfT’s Active Travel Fund, will be allocated to improve cycling and walking infrastructure.

Public Transport

February saw the announcement of findings from the Department for Transport’s National Travel Attitudes Survey, which included:

  • Two thirds of people plan to avoid using crowded public transport after the lifting of travel restrictions and social distancing measures.
  • Early on in the pandemic, 65% said they were only leaving home for essential travel and exercise, with just 4% travelling as usual.
  • By Autumn, the proportion leaving home only for essential reasons fell to 58% and the percentage travelling as normal increased 11%.

Other news in public transport included:

  • It was announced earlier this month that following daily and monthly tests by Imperial College London, there has been no traces of coronavirus, including new variants found in air samples and swabs of London’s Tube trains, buses and stations.
  • UK transport operator, Go-Ahead Group, is set to hire more than 1,100 apprentices in 2021, as part of the company’s plan for a recovery in transport usage once Covid-19 restrictions are eased. 
  • Edinburgh City Council has unveiled a ten-year transport plan to deliver what it describes as better connected, net zero carbon transport system. Measures included in the plan are:
    • Commitment to encourage a change in public behaviour towards the use of sustainable transport
    • Expansion of the tram and mass rapid transit network
    • Improvements to bus routes
    • Introduction of a city operations centre to monitor traffic
  • The Scottish Government has announced it will prioritise drawing up plans to establish a metro system in Glasgow and expand Edinburgh’s tram network as part of a joined up sustainable transport vision.

Buses

  • Coventry and Oxford have been chosen by the government to become the UK’s first all-electric bus cities. The cities will receive up to £50m in funding to replace existing buses.
  • National Express West Midlands has announced its intention to run new rapid transit bus services from May 2022, with a fleet of zero-emission double-decker buses.
  • Transport for London has announced it will add 300 more electric buses to its fleet by the end of 2021. TfL’s goal is for 2,000 all-electric buses to be in operation by 2025.
  • A joint venture between Stagecoach and the Greater Cambridge Partnership has seen the first two electric buses in the city drive over 50,000 miles since they came into services a year ago.
  • Scottish bus firm, McGill’s, has invested £17.5m in all-electric buses. A total of 35 buses have been ordered for use in Glasgow and Dundee.
  • Electric buses built by UK manufacturer, Arrival, will be tested on British roads for the first time later this year in a trial with the transport company First Group.
  • The Scottish Transport statistics publication shows the number of journeys being made by public transport in Scotland fell from 517 million in 2018 to 502 million in 2019. Other findings include:
    • There were 366 million bus journeys in 2019, accounting for 73 per cent of all public transport journeys. 
    • Bus journeys fell by three per cent between 2018 and 2019 and are down 12 per cent over the past 5 years. 
    • Bus passengers experienced a 9% increase in fare prices (over and above general inflation) between 2015 and 2019.

Rail Infrastructure

February has seen a very important step in the HS2 rail project, with the HS2 Phase 2a: High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill being passed into law exactly a year after the government gave HS2 the green light. The Bill was given Royal Assent on 11th February, meaning work can now start to build the new rail line between Crewe and Birmingham.

Also this month, High Speed Rail Group has proposed plans to build a tunnel under the Irish Sea as part of their response to the Union Connectivity review. The review group, led by Network Rail Chairman, Sir Peter Hendy, has been tasked with exploring ways to improve connectivity between the four nations of the UK, and findings are expected to be released within a matter of weeks.

E-Mobility

Electric Vehicles

  • February saw the government announce an investment of £20m to increase the number of on-street electric vehicle chargepoints throughout the UK.
  • Figures released by online car park booking agent, yourparkingspace.co.uk, from its latest parking bookings data, show the number of bookings from diesel vehicles are down by 15% from 2019 to 2020. The number of bookings from electric vehicles in the same period is up by 72%, while bookings from hybrid vehicles has increased by 58%.
  • According to data recently published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, despite a fall in UK car sales by almost a third in 2020, battery electric vehicles achieved a record 6.6% of all sales.
  • The Department for Transport has announced The Workplace Charging Scheme will be expanded to include small to medium size enterprises and the charity sector. The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme will also continue next year and will be expanded to include people in rented and leasehold accommodation, providing them up to £350 towards a charge point at home.
  • The Scottish Government has awarded £210,000 to test new ways of improving accessibility across Scotland’s electric vehicle charging network.
  • Medway Council has announced it has launched a 12-month trial of electric vehicles for its social workers. The pilot will see 10 social workers having use of six electric pool cars to travel across Medway to support vulnerable children and families.

E-Scooters

University Hospitals North Midlands Trust became the first Trust in Staffordshire to trial the use of e-scooters in February. The trial will run from the Trust’s County Hospital and will give staff visitors and patients a social distanced travel option, as well as a means to reduce carbon emissions. 

Colchester and Chelmsford’s NHS workers can now benefit from free 30-minute scooter rides to get to work and back, as part of a trial that was launched earlier in February.

Elsewhere, the following UK towns and cities have either announced, launched or are consulting on e-scooter trials:

  • Sunderland
  • Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
  • Rochdale
  • South Gloucestershire and North Bristol (expanded due to successful trial)
  • Oxford
  • Portsmouth
  • Corby

E-Bikes

The Scottish Government has awarded over £633,000 to support 45 e-bike projects across the country. Schools, hospitals and community groups will establish projects to adopt e-bikes, adaptive bikes and e-cargo bikes as an alternative to car journeys.

Diversity

  • The Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter has launched a resource hub on its website to help organisations achieve a greater gender balance across the industry. The contents of the hub have been provided by a wide variety of sources throughout the industry and are organised into categories including inspiring the next generation, creating opportunities and fair recruitment.
  • A report published by the Women and Equalities Committee has found the economic impact of coronavirus has affected men and women differently. This is due to existing gendered economic inequalities and the over-representation of women in certain types of work
  • According to new data from the Association of British Insurers, progress on gender balance at board level has been made across the insurance and long-term savings industry. 29% of Board members are women, up from 25% in 2019. 24% of Executive level positions are also held by women.
  • The Fawcett Society has launched its Final Report of the Commission on Gender Stereotypes in Early Childhood. 74% of parents say boys and girls are treated differently, and 60% say this has negative impacts.
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission has announced enforcement action against employers failing to report their gender pay gap will start again on 5thOctober. Enforcement for the reporting year 2019/20 was suspended in March 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Data from the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review shows 34% of FTSE 350 board positions are now held by women. The review also shows the number of women on boards has increased by 50% over the last 5 years.

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 for up to date news, opinions and advice.