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Achieving 20% reduction in car kms: A question of logistics

Published 14 June 2022 by Rachel McFarlane

We have today published the video and minutes from the Cross-Party Group on Sustainable Transport meeting that took place on Tuesday 24 May.

At this meeting Clare Linton, the policy and research advisor at the Urban Transport Group, presented on the decarbonisation of freight and logistics; followed by Professor Iain Docherty from the University of Stirling commenting on the 20% reduction in car kms commitment set out by the Scottish Government.

Clare illustrated the significant role that the freight and logistic sectors play in the UK economy — contributing £86.5bn and employing 2.5m people. She discussed the challenges that freight brings: congestion, road safety, air pollution, carbon emissions, and how we might go about resolving these issues, such as by prioritising rail and water to transport goods whenever possible.

Prof Iain Docherty concluded the discussion by indicating the essential role demand management must play, stating: “We will not reach the 20% reduction target unless we get pricing right for a change.” He noted that the assumed relationship between an individual’s quality of life and driving must be challenged. Presently, people believe an absolute reduction in road traffic means a reduction in economic input, which is not the case.

Transform’s policy officer, Marie Ferdelman, commented:

“Claire and Iain’s presentations were an excellent way to round up the discussions we have been having over the past five months during our Cross-Party Group meetings.

“The importance of demand management is clear and it is an unavoidable necessity if we are to reach the 20% reduction commitment set out by the Scottish Government.”

As this was the last meeting in the traffic reduction series, a report will now be prepared over the summer reviewing all that has been discussed over the past four sessions.