Transport: Coronavirus

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 23 July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Greaves Lord Greaves Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 14 July (HL6304), whether the advice in their Safer Transport guidance “that people should consider all other forms of transport, such as cycling and walking, before using public transport” includes the use of private motor vehicles; whether they intend to discourage the use of private motor vehicles as COVID-19 restrictions relax; if so, when; when they expect to announce the details of the “£5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycling links across England” and the distribution of that funding; and at what stage of their post-COVID-19 recovery plans they intend to start to encourage people to use public transport including in particular the railways; and on the basis of what criteria.

Photo of Baroness Vere of Norbiton Baroness Vere of Norbiton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

To support the reopening of the economy, we have been working hard with public transport operators to return services as close as possible to pre-Covid-19 levels. It is vital that the transport network continues to operate safely as demand increases for services, and we are continuing to work with the transport industry to ensure they remain able to deliver a safe service.

We keep our guidance under constant review as COVID-19 incidence and scientific evidence changes. Our guidance now sets out that people should walk or cycle if they can. Where this is not possible, people can use public transport or drive.

I would like to assure you that the Government remains committed to meeting its target of net zero emissions by 2050. Encouraging people to use alternatives to petrol or diesel cars for travel is central to this ambition. We are striving to embed and build on the green travel habits adopted by the public during lockdown. Further details of the £5 billion funding package for buses and cycling, which includes support for the purchase of at least 4,000 new zero-emission buses, will be announced in due course. The Department has also fast-tracked plans for e-scooter trials around the country to open new ways to travel.

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