Green Week campaign hits out at air pollution in Greater Manchester
In the last week, we have learned about the Paris Agreement which Donald Trump has refused to sign, on behalf of 200 million Americans. Closer to home, Stagecoach have called for tougher action in Greater Manchester, as part of the Green Week campaign. They have called for urgent action from local and central government.
Polluted air is more than an environmental health issue. It is also a public health issue. A cause of obesity, strokes, asthma, premature death, and cancers. In Greater Manchester, it is the cause of a thousand premature deaths a year. The cost: £20 billion a year across the UK; a figure likely to rise if hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is introduced in great numbers.
The Stagecoach Group is calling for:
- Continued investment by public transport operators in cleaner vehicle technologies;
- The implementation of tougher tax regimes and use of clean air zones to target vehicles and journeys which contribute most to pollution on a per-passenger basis;
- The clearer promotion of switching from cars to public transport as the most effective route to tackling the twin scourges of urban congestion and air pollution;
- Greater targeted public investment in bus priority measures and better transport interchanges.
In Greater Manchester, its newly elected mayor, Andy Burnham may concur with the above. Following detailed research by Professor David Begg for Greener Journeys, he has highlighted how congestion has turned people away from bus travel. Not least its ramifications for jobs in the industry and the wider economy.
Furthermore, it was found that Britain’s roads are now the most congested in Europe. Any time wasted in the UK’s worst traffic jams will cost motorists £62 billion by 2025.
One of Stagecoach’s double decker buses can remove up to 75 cars from the road. Possibly 85 cars, allowing for ten standees. The amount of road space saved? Unbelievable, not least a reduction in overall emissions levels and improved air quality. With bus priority measures and bus friendly policies, a winning combination.
Stagecoach’s Ninth Green Week
This year’s theme is Delivering Solutions, which begins on World Environment Day – Monday 5 June. This is a widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action when people from all walks of life can come together to ensure a cleaner, greener outlook for future generations.
Stagecoach Manchester Managing Director, Elisabeth Tasker, said: “Public transport has a crucial role to play in helping Greater Manchester tackle traffic congestion, pollution and poor air quality issues that harm our region. We urgently need our politicians to take tough action on congestion to free up road space and let buses flourish.
“Our commitment to our environmental responsibility is central to our business and we are continuing to take steps to reduce our carbon footprint as well as working more widely with our partners to protect our environment. Green Week is a good chance for us to highlight our key messages around this but our work to tackle the challenge of climate change is something that goes on all year round.”
Stagecoach Group is halfway through their five year environmental strategy. Entitled Shared Responsibility, Shared Future, it has been produced in partnership with the Carbon Trust and sets out a package of investments at the Group’s bus and rail businesses.
This follows a 30% reduction in the Group’s carbon intensity since 2007 – 2008 and the achievement of previous targets 12 months ahead of schedule.
By April 2019, Stagecoach aims to further reduce carbon emissions from its buildings and fleet, cut water consumption and improve its waste recycling rate.
The transport group has already been awarded the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard for measuring, managing and reducing its global carbon footprint. It has become the first public transport operator to have its boundaries certified outside of Europe.
An EM60 Presentation, 02 June 2017.