Monday, June 09, 2008

Price of diesel reaches £1.30/litre in Bristol....

No comments:
I've been giving my reaction online to the news that the price of diesel in the Bristol area has reached £1.30 per litre ('Dismay as diesel rockets to £1.30', Bristol Evening Post, 9 June). We should have been weaning ourselves off all oil products for decades now via very large scale investment in: energy efficiency; public transport, walking, cycling; support for local economic development; renewable energy; research into alternative fuels... Given that previous Tory and Labour Governments have made green claims one would have thought this would have been done but it hasn't. Now the security, stability and affordability of our lives has not been assured as a result of this inaction. It does not look to me like fossil fuel (and food) prices can have anything but an upward trend over time as the scarcity of this finite resource can only grow.

Those who for example react to describe not living close to work and being poorly serviced by buses/trains correctly highlight two aspects of the issue that need to be addressed very urgently (and that we should have begun addressing at least two/three decades ago when greens were, as now, advocating localised development etc). Having said that, whilst I appreciate the individual circumstances some people are in, there are many who could choose a greener alternative (nearly half of all car journeys are less than 2 miles long).

Government has completely failed to make it easier and more convenient for people to make green choices however and so they need to take the lion's share of the blame here. Re-allocate just a quarter of the road budget and in ten years we could build light rail systems in eight cities, create 10,000 people-friendly home zones, put £4 billion into cutting train and bus fares, £1 billion into rural transport and another billion into transport for disabled people. Add to that safe routes to all our schools and colleges and tens of thousands of new jobs and it's money well spent (see here for more detail of green transport policies).