Diesel cars tend to be more fuel-efficient with lower emissions, and Mr Brown hailed them as the greener and cheaper option. Over a decade and a half, the number of such vehicles on British roads quadrupled.
What didn’t emerge until much later — although it was no secret in the motor industry or among government officials — was that diesel cars also emitted greater quantities of other pollutants, nitrogen oxides and particulates that damage air quality and human health.
…What [the Government] fails to tell us, however, is that electric cars are not the answer for many people, for a host of practical reasons. These include their upfront cost, limited range, the time it takes to charge batteries, the new infrastructure needed for charging points and the extra power required to supply them.
Even more alarmingly, a report in the journal Nature suggests that because electric cars are heavier than other vehicles, they will likely kill more occupants of other vehicles in traffic accidents.
As for climate change, electric cars will do little to arrest it. So for now, at least, they are one of the least effective and most expensive ways to cut carbon — and economically they are a bad bet.
GOVERNMENT transport ministers have backed calls to end private ownership of vehicles in a major overhaul.
Instead, they have asked for “greater flexibility” over vehicle use with experts believing “shared transport” is the way forward. Transport minister, Trudy Harrison, said any new proposals would be “fit for the future” of road travel. It could spark the beginning of the end of petrol and diesel car ownership as the pressure rises to meet pollution targets.
“For instance, even with public criticism being high, many still perceived government approval as the yardstick for safe behaviour during COVID-19 ‘we’re allowed to do this now [so must be safe]…’. This reveals, for many, a deep set reverence for legitimate government authority, regardless of one’s personal political views.”Net Zero: principles for successful behaviour change initiatives, p.24
This research looks at UK and OECD government-led behaviour change initiatives over the last 70 years. It identifies 9 principles that can be applied to encourage the behaviour change needed to achieve Net Zero.
The research was carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). It was commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
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It is hard to know where to start with transport. One certainly shouldn’t start from home, if at all possible. In our age of lockdown, transport away from the home is considered anti-social, if not downright dangerous.
In this atmosphere, it is worth recalling that democratic rights relate not just to free speech, but also to freedom of movement and freedom of assembly. Some restrictions on travel have been lifted recently. But with every new official statement about how we can and cannot move around, the government confirms that the state and only the state holds the cards in relation to our basic freedoms.