Westminster Hall Debate: Net zero targets and decarbonising transport, House of Commons, Tuesday 4 February 2020

We are calling for the devolution of the bus service operator grant and for all councils to be given the ability to franchise local services.


Key messages:

  • Research shows that even with widespread electrification traffic needs to reduce by anywhere between 20-60 per cent by 2030 to meet the greenhouse gas emission targets in the Paris Climate Change agreement. If we are to meet these challenges, a dramatic step change is needed.
  • Effective decarbonisation solutions will need to be place based and locally led. A solution that works in an urban area may not be appropriate in a rural context. Councils are best placed to understand the unique context of their local transport networks and need to be empowered to deliver the solutions.
  • To electrify the vehicle fleet, a large-scale investment is needed to create a comprehensive network of electric vehicle charging points. Extra funding for this must either come from private investment or national government. Local government cannot afford to deliver this alone
  • Councils want to improve active travel infrastructure. To do so, councils need the Government to provide them with long term guaranteed infrastructure funding to allow them to maintain infrastructure and deliver improvements in a comprehensive and long-term way.
  • The Government’s new £220 million funding package to improve bus services across urban and rural areas is welcome. Nevertheless, councils are still facing significant funding challenges. The LGA has produced analysis showing a £700 million funding gap for the concessionary fares scheme. This means there is increasing pressure on councils’ ability to provide socially useful but financially unviable bus services. The Government needs to fully fund the scheme, and we are calling on the Government to address this in the Budget or its upcoming National Bus Strategy.
  • We are calling for the devolution of the bus service operator grant and for all councils to be given the ability to franchise local services.
  • Across the country, councils are taking urgent actions to combat the negative impacts of climate change and to deliver zero net carbon by 2030. The LGA is committed to supporting councils to continue on this journey, and our climate change hub brings together an overview of our sector-led improvement offer, information on upcoming events as well as relevant publications and best practice case studies.