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DfT must allow investment in transport schemes to improve air quality - MPs

Lee Baker
01 September 2016

The DfT must support sustainable transport schemes designed to improve environmental quality by accurately reflecting the price of air pollution in its Transport Analysis Guidance, MPs have said.

The environment audit committee's new report challenges the DfT to give air quality greater weight in transport appraisal so that local authorities can invest in measures to reduce deadly pollution after hearing from authorities such as Bristol City Council that "any scheme which increases journey times for motor traffic performs very badly against WebTAG criteria regardless of its wider benefits".

The MPs heard that the DfT focuses on mitigating environmental impacts, and does not take the environment as justification for transport interventions. Bristol asserted that the DfT's modelling massively under-estimates the benefits of cycling walking, claiming that meeting the 2025 targets would result in benefits of £61bn, "yet the DfT envisages £500m". Transport for Greater Manchester called for dedicated DfT funding for interventions to improve air quality, echoing a call by UWE researchers on Wednesday.

The committee also recommends the DfT assess the overall impact of all its transport projects. The National Audit Office told the MPs that the Department does not assess the combined effect of all its projects and whether or not they cumulatively add up to unacceptable environmental harm.

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