AA President: Simple may be smarter in reducing CO2 from cars

by Stephen Hurrell. Published Mon 14 Sep 2009 15:58
The AA has called for simpler CO2 cutting measures

Poorly thought out park and ride schemes and 20mph speed zones are not the correct way to reduce carbon emissions from car travel, says the AA President, Edmund King.

King believes car technology will be at the forefront of battling climate change and expensive, time consuming measures may not be as effective as better evaluation of CO2 emissions from road schemes and other simpler measures.

Government measures such as fuel duty would reduce CO2 emissions by just two million tonnes, compared to a five million tonne from an improvement in car technology.

In a statement, the AA claimed: “Although supportive of targeted 20 mph limits on urban residential streets for safety reasons, the AA is concerned that the blanket roll-out across the UK is being done without assessment of the additional CO2 impact.

“Twenty mile per hour speed limits on inappropriate roads can pump up CO2 emissions 10%, a concern raised by the then Department of Environment, Transport and Regions in 2000. Without proper research, council engineers have no data or guidance for planning 20 mph speed limits that don’t unnecessarily aggravate CO2 emissions.”

The AA is ‘disturbed’ to see the closure of park and ride facilities, notably in Brighton. Former park and ride users have been diverted on to local buses at a return cost of 3.60 per person when the cost of parking in the council’s city centre multi-storey is 3.80 for six hours.

The AA believes that simple signs on main roads, showing the comparative costs for using a park and ride scheme as opposed to town centre car parks, could be effective in persuading greater use of CO2-efficient parking on the outskirts. It also argues that the priority use of extra income from car parks is to keep park and ride facilities open, not to prop up council finances.

Commenting, Edmund King, AA President, said: “If we are smart about urban transport we can reduce CO2 and congestion without spending millions. Congestion and CO2 can be reduced by improving traffic flow through co-ordination of road works, phasing of lights and good parking policy. If we continually obstruct traffic with excessive traffic calming, we will increase congestion and CO2. New technology to improve fuel efficiency will be the biggest contribution to reducing CO2 from road transport.”

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