Transport for London (TFL) uses more electricity than anything else in the city. The Underground and Overground rail networks alone consume an astonishing 1.2 terawatt-hours each year, enough to power around 360,000 homes. Then there are buses, trams and an array of other infrastructure.
TFL carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions come from the fuel used to run buses and other vehicles, electricity to power trains and trams, and the energy supplied to our buildings and equipment. TFL has neither addressed its growing energy use (including outsourced data centres) or its carbon footprint. Last time I put in an Freedom of Information request (FOI), TFL had no carbon budget.
The annual road transport emissions for the Greater London Area (GLA) are projected to be 5,728,930t CO2 in 2030, (London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory 201330 data). According to Donnachadh McCarthy (Eco-auditor) that is about 1.4% of all UK current emissions . However in 2030 it would represent a far higher percentage of the total UK emissions, as other sectors are cut.
Reducing emissions from road transport down to zero net carbon (by at least 2030) will set the agenda for the next London Mayoral election. My proposals are for the more appropriate 2025 target date. We must keep reminding ourselves that ‘winning slowly is the same as losing outright’.
- I would ban private cars (except for blue badge) + remove all on street parking. We are going to need to reclaim our public space to make room for appropriate Climate Emergency mobilisation; mitigation AND adaptation.
- Resident Parking Permits become Resident Allotment Permits. Councils have a Statutory Duty to supply allotments for anyone that wants one. This is currently not happening. Food security in a Climate Emergency is a high priority.
- Community composts must be provided on every residential street to enable food growing.
- Playstreets must be on every residential road to enable play and quality leisure time.
- A dense cycle network must be implemented at speed, part of a climate emergency mobilisation. Mini-holland style local residential dense network joining up with segregated cycle lanes on main arteries and high motor traffic roads. Comprehensive.
- This cycle network must expand far beyond London, to outlying commuter belts. A UK wide cycling network will also be essential for low carbon access to leisure, holiday destinations outside London. Electric assist cycles enable longer commutes and leisure trips.
- Repairable, free, customised cycles for every Londoner. Beyond the bicycle and inclusive of all ages 6-99 years old. Part of the circular economy. And free secure cycle parking too
- Fossil fuel cars recycled into cargo bikes. Recycled steel from cars entering the circular economy to make repairable, easily maintained cycles. Your next car is a cargo bike. A competition to design the best utility cycle prototype from the recycled steel of redundant fossil fuel cars
- Cargo bike hire provided in every neighbourhood
- Fruit and nut tree-lined Walking Networks throughout Greater London: Blossom in the Spring, shaded avenues in the Summer, harvesting for food security, community and well-being in the Autumn
- Traffic-free Waterloo Garden Bridge. We had a taster of how Waterloo Bridge can become a wonderful space to enjoy our city. Popular and breathtakingly beautiful (without the noisy polluting motor vehicles)
- Regular motor vehicle free days to cut emissions. Linked to regular work-free days.
- Car-free Fridays for Future
- Motor traffic free Town Centres.
- ‘Smart’ road pricing will never be social justice, it enables the wealthy to drive at whim. I do not support this corporate car lobby ‘solution’. It perpetuates car culture.
- Congestion Charge must be 24/7, inclusive of ALL motor vehicles and the price raised.
- ULEZ must be expanded to Greater London. 24/7 and include all fossil fuel vehicles.
- Ban automation in motor vehicles. Not safe or proven technology. No algorithmic transparency and accountability. A very high energy user when we need to rapidly cut energy use. Up to 100 computers on just one automated vehicle, equivalent to boiling 3 electric kettles continuously. Plus radar, sensors and cameras. Mostly designed for data harvesting and mass surveillance.
- 5G enabled automation is a potential heath and security threat. As well as a drain on clean energy. Ban 5G
- Ban road building including Silvertown Tunnel
- Stop Crossrail 2. Embedded carbon too high. Too expensive (18 billion for Crossrail 1) Delayed, bungled high tech , disruptive.
- Stop HS2 a highly destructive high Upfront Embedded Carbon investment. Draining resources, carbon and energy needed for de-carbonisation of current buildings and current public transport.
- Cycle hubs at train stations and bus stops. Joined up transport.
- Licence pedicabs and cycling taxis like pedalmeapp
- Switch all possible delivery vans, logistics, electricians, plumbers, carpenters etc to cargo bikes
- Sail cargo to cargo bike logistics in Greater London
- Rewilding of roads, removing tarmac for regenerative agriculture
- Immediate ban on private jets. No airport expansion. Rationed flights.
- Sail passenger ships replacing aviation
- Ban on car and flight adverts
- Transparent and fully accessible carbon accounting at Transport for London with a regular 6 month carbon budget update.
- Rapid de-carbonisation of all Transport for London business model and ‘partners’ including vehicles, infrastructure, energy use and data /outsourced data.
- Rapid cut in Transport for London energy use to meet renewables.
- Solar on rooftops funded by Transport for London to aid in rapid decarbonisation. Transport for London is London’s biggest energy user. Further information here
- Low tech supersedes high tech
- Stop the immense digiwaste at Transport for London.
- Energy and carbon rationing to focus transport choices
Note: Currently the Underground, Overground rail and Bus commute of 5 miles each way would be too carbon intensive for a net zero carbon personal lifestyle of approximately 2.7KG CO2 per day.
The average bus, underground and overground rail journey is 150g per mile. (source Mike Berners-Lee ‘How Bad are Bananas: The Carbon Footprint of Everything) This is not sustainable on a daily 2.7Kg net carbon zero daily budget. Unless you don’t want to eat? 10 miles x public transport of 150g per mile is a 1.5Kg chunk of a net carbon zero 2.7Kg per day carbon budget.
Public Transport needs to come down to around 30g per mile to make it a viable option for longer commutes (10 miles x 30g = 300g) ). For context the average car journey is 700g carbon per mile. . A Cycling taxi like pedalme is 36g per mile. Walking is 0g and cycling 3g (food is calculated separately).
The sources for my One Tonne of Carbon per Year calculations are set out here