Press release 30th October 2021

Campaigners slam government hypocrisy on eve of COP26

Tomorrow sees the opening of the climate summit in Glasgow, but transport campaigners have accused the government of hypocrisy following the autumn budget.

“They cut air passenger duty for polluting aeroplanes, have frozen fuel duty for motorists again and again, but if you want to take the green option and travel by train, the government punishes you with eye-watering fare increases” said Chris Page, chair of Railfuture “It really is crazy that at a time when there is a real need to reduce our carbon usage, all the good news is for the more polluting choices. All rail wants is for it to be treated fairly as we go about reducing carbon usage in transport. Surely the time is right for a fares freeze, which would match the gift to car users and air travellers. Anything else would go totally against the goals of COP26”.

At the Autumn Budget on Wednesday, Fuel Excise Duty was frozen – for the eleventh year in succession, and Air Passenger Duty was cut by 50% for domestic flights from April 2023 (from £13 to £6.50).

“What a treat for the two most polluting modes of transport - no attempt to encourage either a switch to a more carbon efficient mode or to a more efficient car (i.e. a battery one). The evidence is clear that rail is the most carbon efficient way of getting around”.

COP26 Transport day is on 10 November. “We’re hoping to see announcements that will show the Government is serious about making best use of the highly carbon efficient rail network. These should include an end to inflationary rail fare rise for 2022 or at the very least at or below CPI inflation.

“We also need to see continued support for the current railway – no rash cuts that reduce services at a time when we need more, not less people on the railway, and a long term rail electrification programme, which will make the railway even greener.”

Notes to editors:

Ecopassenger.org shows that for London to Glasgow, a train user will cause 32.2kg of carbon dioxide, a car user 90.6kg and by air it is 120.3kg.

Fuel Duty freeze for 11 years: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/10/autumn-budget-2021-fuel-duty-to-remain-frozen-until-2023/

More on this in our August Press Release: https://railfuture.org.uk/Press+release+18th+August-2021.

[] Link to worked example from EcoPassenger: https://railfuture.org.uk/display2847 - DIY calculations at http://ecopassenger.org/
Table of potential commuter fare rises & Inflation history (CPI vs RPI): https://railfuture.org.uk/display2754

Inflation: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices#timeseries & https://osr.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/publication/the-retail-prices-index/

Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture's website can be found at: www.railfuture.org.uk

Follow Railfuture on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Railfuture

For further information and comment please contact:

Neil Middleton, Railfuture director
Tel: Mobile: 07887 628367
neil.middleton at railfuture.org.uk

Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
Tel: 0117 927 2954 Mobile: 07759 557389
media at railfuture.org.uk