Green transport can no longer be fobbed off, says Deputy
THE States can no longer ‘fob off’ issues on creating a greener environment and must properly fund the new sustainable transport policy, a States backbencher has said.
Deputy Kirsten Morel believes a proper policy should have been correctly funded and backed after it was put in place back in 2010 but ‘failed miserably’ due to a lack of funding.
Now the States will look at a new policy after a proposition for free bus services was rejected by Members last week. However, an amendment was made for government ‘to research, consult upon and identify funding for a sustainable transport strategy, including safe routes for walking and cycling, and provision for those with impaired mobility, by the end of 2019.’
Deputy Morel believes a new policy needs to be backed properly, not like the one nine years ago.
He said: ‘The bus debate was really the wrong debate to be having. If it would have gone through it could have taken people who currently walked and cycled, and put them on the bus. The sustainable transport policy put in place in 2010 has failed miserably, because it was never funded in the right way.
‘I think the government realises now that it can no longer fob off issues about the environment.
‘Last time I think some funding was coming from the vehicle emissions duty but it didn’t raise enough and the previous government didn’t keep it earmarked for this.
‘It is now time this is funded properly.’
Following the decision in the States, Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis has said that work is under way to accelerate the process, and revenue is being brought forward in next year’s Government Plan.
He said: ‘Work is already well under way on a sustainable transport policy and we have already made commitments to bring forward revenue and policy initiatives in next year’s government plan to make a real impact in 2020 onwards.
‘This is why I was keen not to see any decisions made in isolation and in advance of the work being completed. We need a long-term sustainable vision for Islanders’ use of transport across the board. The Assembly has now given a very tight deadline for its delivery, considering the scope of work that has to be undertaken and we need to resource up for this.
‘We need to set a common goal of ensuring that the environmental impact of transport is minimised. We fully support building on the increases in bus use that we have seen in recent years.’