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Transport

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:18 pm on 5th February 2020.

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Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Shadow Secretary of State for Transport 4:18 pm, 5th February 2020

No, it is not.

Is the Secretary of State aware that it is more than a decade since the effectiveness of regulators in the transport industry was seriously questioned or considered? [Interruption.] I know he is not listening, but he really should.

Regulators could and should have a positive role in driving carbon reduction in the industries they oversee. Does the Secretary of State agree that the powers of the Office of Rail and Road and the Civil Aviation Authority should be strengthened to ensure that the road, rail, bus and aviation industries meet their climate crisis obligations? Have the Government issued any guidance to the transport industry regulators in that regard?

Finally, the Department for Transport does not have a carbon reduction budget or target. The Government should set a carbon budget consistent with the aspirations of the Paris agreement and beyond. In addition, each of the sectors—rail, road, aviation and maritime—should have carbon reduction targets in line with that departmental budget, and departmental spending should be reallocated to achieve the changes required.

Claire O’Neill is correct to say that the Prime Minister “doesn’t get it” on the climate crisis. The Transport Secretary has an opportunity to show that he does get it by halting the colossal road-building programme and his plans for airport expansion, and by boosting investment in active travel, public transport and electric vehicles.

Dealing with transport is critical to confronting the climate crisis. We are compelled to take action by decarbonising not only to respond to the existential threat to our one and only planet but to embrace the green industrial revolution and, simultaneously, to address the gross and obscene deficits in social justice. We must level up so that everyone across our nation has affordable, accessible and sustainable transport. We must connect our communities and businesses, and we must give people the means to get to work, to get to college, school or university and to get to hospital, and to help address social isolation.

The moral, social and economic imperatives are urgent and stark, and I urge this Government to take the bold and radical action that is necessary. The country, indeed the world, is watching. I commend this motion to the House.