Covid-19: Recovery Strategies - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:52 pm on 11th June 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour 1:52 pm, 11th June 2020

I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, on this excellent opportunity to debate how we will achieve zero carbon emissions in 2050.

The noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, talked about the importance of transport. Cars and trucks are probably the biggest polluters in this sector. We need radical solutions. One example is the retail system. We now can happily buy anything for home delivery the next day. The shops are replenished several times a day with multiple deliveries, often in white vans. This is all backed up by worldwide logistics, including air freight, container ships, 40-tonne trucks, distribution centres et cetera. We are still building motorways, mainly for trucks. So how do we reduce the carbon footprint?

There are many solutions. Clearly, rail freight into the city centres is one, as are electrical cycle last-mile deliveries. Most of all we need to change our lifestyle, with fewer choices in shops. Do we really need air-freighted avocados every day of the year, unless there is a carbon tax attributed to them? We must have a massive reduction in car use, but the Government are still advising us to use cars rather than public transport. What about the people who do not have cars? The Government seem to have been forgotten, or they just do not care about them. Perhaps they should withdraw the car advice. I hope that the Minister will say something about that today.

On Monday, I raised a question about Manchester City Council not participating in a new cycle scheme for the Manchester area. Two days later, it applied to the Government for financing. I am pleased to hear this and hope that many other local authorities will support it.

We have the opportunity now to change our environment and set an example to the rest of the world. I hope we can do it.