Labour’s Lord Faulkner and shadow transport spokesperson Baroness Taylor called for more robust, data-driven public transport networks.
Two members of the UK House of Lords have cited the ICE during a grand committee debate on public transport in towns and cities.
What did they say?
Labour peer Lord Faulkner of Worcester commented on the growing need for lower-carbon transport modes and policymakers’ unwillingness to constrain car use.
Citing the ICE’s briefing directly, he said:
“In the UK, transport is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions—27% of the UK’s total in 2019—deriving primarily from petrol and diesel use in road transport.
“Passengers and freight need to switch to lower-carbon transport modes at an acceptable cost to the taxpayer, meaning the UK’s public transport networks will need to provide more journeys and carry more passengers in the future.”
Baroness Taylor of Stevenage, the UK’s shadow spokesperson for transport, thanked the ICE “for its helpful briefing”.
“[We] need radically new thinking and approaches,” she said. “Our services are geared to nine-to-five weekday commuting, when the whole pattern of working and leisure travel has changed. In truth, this was starting to happen before Covid, but it has accelerated considerably.
“The Institution of Civil Engineers points out the importance of data gathering and analysis post-Covid... I am interested to hear the minister’s response on how this is being undertaken by the DfT [Department for Transport] and whether she yet has any sense of how long it will be before a settled, post-pandemic picture of public transport use emerges.”
The debate took place as part of a House of Lords Grand Committee on 17 April 2023.
The debate followed the Built Environment Committee’s first report on public transport in towns and cities, which it published on 9 November 2022.
Why this matters
The ICE provides independent policy insight and advice to parliamentarians from all parties on a wide range of infrastructure issues.
That senior members of the UK Labour Party are aware of and agree with the ICE’s policy positions on public transport ensures that we and our members can inform high-level parliamentary debates on this topic.
And, the need decarbonise the UK’s critical infrastructure, including transport, has informed ICE’s recent research into infrastructure resilience.
The ICE has also produced research and briefing material on post-pandemic funding options for public transport and pay-as-you-go models for sustainable roads funding.
We will continue to work with policymakers to ensure these important conversations take place at all levels of government.