FTA welcomes measured contribution to ‘green’ debate

Monday 26 October 2009

A measured response to a tricky issue: that was the response from the Freight Transport Association to the Green Fiscal Commission’s (GFC) report into green fiscal reform, published today (26 October). However, the leading trade body also warned politicians not to use the report as an excuse to apply ‘greenwash’ to taxes which have little or no environmental benefit.

Jo Tanner of the FTA, said:

“It is refreshing to hear advocates for environmental change propose progressive, not regressive, measures. However, the implementation of any green fiscal policy must be overseen with an independent eye to ensure that the government of the day does not use it as a measure simply to raise revenue, rather than have any beneficial environmental effect.”

FTA welcomes the GFC's focus on the behaviour and habits of individual private motorists, with the caveat that any proposed fiscal policy should not then be applied in the same way to commercial vehicles in the logistics sector.

Tanner continued:

“Politicians have a propensity to hide revenue raising exercises under a large green banner – but while fuel duty hikes may alter motorists’ behaviour, as they have the choice of hopping onto public transport, lorries simply have to be fuelled if we want our shelves stocked. The logistics sector is already working hard to lower its carbon footprint and to take advantage of all transport modes to move goods. It would be grossly unfair if this commitment was not matched by an understanding from politicians that commercial vehicles provide an essential service.

“Fiscal policy is not a one size fits all solution. Rather than ‘baby and bathwater’ measures, politicians need to listen to the transport industry to find out what it is already doing to achieve positive environmental and economic outcomes."

The logistics sector has already made great inroads into recording, reporting and reducing its carbon footprint, both in terms of greener vehicles and greater fuel efficiency. FTA has called on politicians to add a fourth ‘R’: reward.

Tanner concluded:

"Repeatedly beating hauliers with the ‘green stick’ is not only unfair, but illogical. How are companies supposed to invest in newer, greener technology if they are spending even more money on filling their tanks? By providing rewards for vehicle operators, like cheaper road tolls, for example, politicians can put down the stick and apply a little more carrot.”


Notes for editors

In 2006 FTA launched its own carbon initiative, Carbonfta, which encourages its members to ‘record, report and reduce’ their carbon emissions. This system is now being used as a blueprint by the Department for Transport’s Low Carbon Transport Strategy, launched by the Westminster Government earlier this year.


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