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Green Party Proposes £2.5 Billion a Year on Active Travel

Green Party manifesto 2024, transport section
Green Party manifesto 2024, transport section

The Green Party is proposing investment of £2.5 billion a year in active travel, with the money to be spent on new cycleways and footpaths.

With the Lib Dems and the Conservatives already having published their documents, the Green manifesto is the best yet on cycling and walking.

Safe Streets and Active Travel

The Greens say:

‘Walking, wheeling and cycling don’t just help reduce carbon emissions and air pollution – they can make us all happier and healthier too’.

transport section of green manifesto

Their specific proposals are:

  • investment of £2.5bn a year in new cycleways and footpaths
  • reimagining how we use streets in residential areas to reduce traffic and open them up for community use
  • adopting Active Travel England’s objective of 50% of trips in England’s towns and cities to be walked, wheeled or cycled by 2030

£2.5bn a Year on New Cycleways and Footpaths

£2.5bn a year on new cycleways and footpaths would be a very substantial increase on current spending levels.

The IPPR’s recent Stride and Ride report gives us context. It says:

  • £3.3bn was spent over the 5-year period from 2016-21; this was about 2% of the total transport budget
  • 2021 had the highest capital spend, and that year it was £205 million
  • after recent cuts to the active travel budget, spending in 2024 will be around £50 million

The IPPR say that £2bn a year for 10 years could deliver 27,000 miles of cycle routes to Dutch standards.

They suggest spending in England of £20 per head in 2025, ramping up to £50 per head by 2029. £50 per head is about 10% of the total transport budget; sustained funding at that level should deliver a world-class active travel network.

If the Greens’ figure of £2.5bn a year is for England, it represents approximately £45 per head.

Reimagining Residential Streets

The Green manifesto proposes reducing traffic on residential streets and opening them up to community use. This would often mean modal filters to prevent rat-running drivers using them as through routes.

The manifesto doesn’t use the phrase Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods, but that’s what it’s describing.

With increasing volumes of traffic and rat-running, we can either let the places where we live become more and more traffic-dominated, or – as the Greens suggest – we can do something about it.

50% of Trips Walked, Wheeled or Cycled

50% of trips by active travel, from Transport Decarbonisation Plan
50% of trips by active travel, from Transport Decarbonisation Plan

This is already a government target, but it is good to see it in the Green manifesto.

Other Transport Proposals

The Green manifesto highlights the fact that transport generates a quarter of all carbon emissions, and stresses the need for greener transport options.

They propose:

  • increasing public subsidies for rail and bus travel to £10bn by the end of the next Parliament, with free bus travel for under-18s
  • investing £19bn more over 5 years in public transport and electrification. (The active travel budget is included in the £19bn)
  • bringing the railways back into public ownership
  • giving local authorities control over and funding for improved bus services

On aviation, the Greens want to put in place:

  • a frequent-flier levy
  • a ban on domestic flights for trips that take less than 3h by train and
  • a halt to airport capacity expansion

Economy

Among the proposals in the Economy chapter is a carbon tax to drive fossil fuels out of our economy and raise money to invest in the green transition.

Energy

The Energy chapter includes a commitment to bring forward the transition to a zero-carbon society from 2050 to at least 10 years sooner.

Rating the Greens on Active Travel

The Green manifesto contains a commitment to serious spending on active travel, close to 10% of the transport budget. The Greens also support necessary measures to restrict through traffic in residential areas.

On active travel, it is the best manifesto yet – by an urban or country mile.

Green Party Proposes £2.5 Billion a Year on Active Travel

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