The Green MEP for the South East, Keith Taylor has spoken out about the consistent failure of consecutive governments to act on deadly air pollution. The statement has been released as new figures have been revealed showing that public transport prices have soared over the last four decades while the cost of travelling by car has decreased significantly.
Government statistics were published in order to respond to a written question by Caroline Lucas MP. The statistics showed that the cost of motoring which includes the purchase of a vehicle has fallen by 20% since the 1980s. In comparison, over the same period of time rail fares have risen by 63%, while bus and coach fares have increased by 64%. It has been recorded that the UK’s toxic air quality causes around 40,000 unnecessary deaths every year. With the government posting targets about reducing their carbon emissions and becoming greener, what the statistics actually show opposes these targets and mandates. In a sector where an increased use of public transport could make significant improvements to the sustainability of the country, it is confusing that drastically opposing action is occurring.
It is also mentioned by Keith Taylor in his statement that the cost of public transport is increasing as the services fail to improve. It is thought that the privatization of public transport could also be behind the rise of fares, but Taylor goes so far as to blame both the Labour and Conservative parties for not taking action while they have been on power. If changes aren’t made soon, and driving continues to be cheaper that catching the train or bus, then the air pollution crisis in the UK is only going to get worse, leading to more and more unnecessary deaths. What may be even more concerning is that the air quality legislation that is in place is driven by European Law, which asks just how much slower will the Government get after Brexit?