Last Friday, the LibDems launched "new transport polices to create a zero carbon transport system by 2050." And no one noticed. Not even their website, which carried the press release, but doesn't seem to carry the document, Towards Carbon Free Transport.
We are given a few hints how they might achieve this mighty ambition, but are otherwise left to speculate. The hints are:
- Introducing a distance charge on road freight, related to weight and emissions, as an incentive to shift freight to rail, raising at least £600m a year
- Establishing a new 'Future Transport Fund' to fund a programme of investment on our railways; removing bottlenecks, providing more trains and reopening lines
- Backing new North-South and East-West high-speed rail lines to the best European standards to replace internal flights
- Toughening new legal limits on the average emissions of new cars sold in the EU, to be reinforced with a steadily declining total that reaches zero by 2040
- Introducing a new 'Climate Change Charge' on internal flights, except life-line routes, starting at £10 per ticket to help fund the 'Future Transport Fund,' which will generate at least £150m a year
So we will still be using trains, planes and automobiles, but they will somehow magically become zero-carbon vehicles. I'm looking forward to discovering how the full document explains how they will achieve this miracle.