Rising threat of transport emissions | Letters

Harold Forbes says the principle of polluter pays is rarely implemented; Jeremy Tomkinson calls for clear policy on lowering petrol emissions; Chris Tidmarsh laments the sparsity of electric-car charging points in Southwark and Lambeth

Your article on carbon dioxide emissions from new vehicles (Fall in CO2 output from new cars goes into reverse, 27 February) makes no mention of the eight-year freeze on fuel duty, which has contributed to UK fuel prices being 4% below their 2000 levels in real terms and 21% below the 2013 peak. The relative price of things is an enormously powerful driver of human choices and behaviour.

Dumping the economic assumption that nature is a limitless source of materials and services that can be considered to come for free would be the single biggest leap that humanity could make in securing its future. At present we have few monetary incentives to avoid excess greenhouse gas emissions, single-use plastics or even excess animal manure. In fact, the economy encourages us believe it is “cheaper” to do such things.

The principle of polluter pays has often been discussed, but implementation has been limited to discrete incidents. It is time to recognise that all of us who participate in the industrial economy (which is pretty much everybody) contribute to the destruction of the future liveability of the planet. It is time the economy was priced to reward activities that nourish our future rather than those that destroy it.
Harold Forbes
Wareham, Dorset

• With consumers opting for petrol over diesel, electric or hybrid vehicles, we need to see clear policy on lowering petrol emissions. Displacing more fossil fuel by increasing the low-carbon renewable bioethanol levels within the petrol blend to 10% (known as E10) is the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective way to tackle transport emissions immediately and represents the equivalent of removing 700,000 cars from UK roads.

The government needs to show leadership on a swift, coordinated, and ideally mandated rollout of E10. Without this, transport emissions will continue to present an increasing threat.
Dr Jeremy Tomkinson
Chief executive officer, National Non-Food Crops Centre, York

• Platform for Electromobility concludes that it is not a lack of charging points that is hampering sales of electric cars because across the whole of Europe there are six cars per point (Lack of models, not charging points, ‘holding back electric car market’, 27 February). The reality in my part of London is far different. Here in Southwark there are just seven fast-charging points and 13 slow-charging points (not all of them accessible for 24 hours) for the whole borough and in Lambeth there are just three charging points.

Try telling an average resident of either borough that there are sufficient points to buy an electric car and you would be met with a hollow laugh.
Chris Tidmarsh
London

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