Road transport emissions have continued to increase in the years since 1990, despite the measures put in place to tackle this issue.
The data comes from the Road transport and air emissions report released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which investigates the contribution of transport to greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions, with further analysis from the UK Environmental Accounts data.
It shows that, while progress has been made, there is still some way to go.
We have seen that the government and various local authorities are trying to accelerate charging infrastructure for zero-emission vehicles; however, data from the ONS revealed just 0.5% of all licensed vehicles in the UK were ultra-low emission.
The likes of Transport for London (TfL) has introduced stringent emission zones, but clearly more needs to be done.
Indeed, the ONS report confirms as much, concluding that the reduction of emissions from road transport “remains a significant challenge as the UK looks to reach net zero emissions by 2050.”
The challenge is obvious considering the rise in road traffic in Great Britain from 1990 to 2018; during that time, the number of miles travelled grew from 255 billion to 328 billion – equivalent to 29%.
Newer vehicles are improving in terms of fuel efficiency, whilst fuel used for transport on the UK’s roads between 1990 to 2017 remained stable.
However, diesel fuel has increased in this time – something that the government is trying to eradicate, as part of its Road to Zero Strategy.
Greenhouse gas emissions from road transport have increased more slowly than road traffic in the years from 1990 to 2017 – the latter increasing by 6%.
However, in 2017, figures show that greenhouse gas emissions from road transport was responsible for roughly one fifth of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the UK; this perfectly outlines the challenges faced in order to hit air quality and road pollution targets.