Road Transport Emissions

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th October 2017.

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Photo of Lloyd Russell-Moyle Lloyd Russell-Moyle Labour/Co-operative, Brighton, Kemptown 12:00 am, 19th October 2017

What steps he is taking to reduce harmful emissions from road transport.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Immigration)

What steps he is taking to reduce harmful emissions from road transport.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Government’s plan for tackling nitrogen dioxide concentrations, which was published in July, sets out a number of steps backed with £3 billion of investment in air quality and cleaner transport. These include the tough new real-world emissions tests for new models of diesel and petrol cars.

Photo of Lloyd Russell-Moyle Lloyd Russell-Moyle Labour/Co-operative, Brighton, Kemptown

What progress is being made on setting up low-emission zones in various parts of the country? How are the Government ensuring that there is a workable national framework for those zones?

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

As the hon. Gentleman knows, we have published the clean air plan and we are working very closely with local authorities regarding clean air zones. There is also a wider duty on local authorities that are not specifically part of the zones themselves to bear air quality in mind, and we also support them through the Department.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Immigration)

Encouraging the use of public transport is key to tackling air pollution. Does the Minister accept that the increase in rail fares at twice the rate of wages since 2010, and the decreased use of buses while the Conservatives have been in office, have made air quality worse?

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The hon. Gentleman is correct about the importance of buses. Only yesterday, I met the chief executive of Go-Ahead buses, which is very active around the country, and we specifically discussed that matter. I have held such discussions with other operators and will continue to do so in the coming months. We also considered retrofitting and improving passenger numbers.

Photo of Paula Sherriff Paula Sherriff Shadow Minister (Equalities Office) (Women and Equalities)

Does the Minister agree that one of the ways to reduce emissions is to encourage rail travel, but that one of the barriers to that is poor service. Travellers from West Yorkshire using Virgin are experiencing increasingly poor service due to staff shortages, and there is a suspicion that Virgin is cutting back so that it can increase profits. What are the Government doing to hold train operating companies to account?

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I can only admire the hon. Lady’s ingenuity in crowbarring a point about Virgin rail into a question about road transport emissions. Obviously the rail Minister, my hon. Friend Paul Maynard, is better placed to answer that, but let me draw her attention to the work that we are doing through the cycling and walking investment strategy on improving the links between rail and cycling.9

Photo of Nicholas Dakin Nicholas Dakin Opposition Whip (Commons)

E10 fuel can reduce emissions from road transport. Can the Minister confirm the Government’s commitment to introducing E10 in the UK in 2018?

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

As the hon. Gentleman knows, we have been looking closely at this issue and will make an announcement in due course.