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LCC pressures politicians at COP26

LCC, as part of the Sustainable Transport Alliance, called for cycling to be front & centre of climate response at COP26.

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Three open letters

When it comes to road transport in London there are two big questions: will the right decisions be taken to decarbonise our roads by 2030, as LCC’s Climate Safe Streets Campaign is calling for? And will London be given the funds to pay for the transition to zero carbon roads (or allowed the freedom to raise those funds)?

The first question is for the Mayor of London and London’s boroughs to address, and the second for the government. That’s why, as the eyes of the world turned to the critical COP26 international climate summit in Glasgow, LCC organised joint letters to the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, COP26 President Alok Sharma and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, urging them to come up with the right answers. (See below.)

It’s also why, on “Transport Day” at CO26 (10th November), the Sustainable Transport Alliance (of which LCC is a member) put on an event to make the positive case for greater government ambition and support for active travel, public transport and shared mobility, and for firm targets to be set for the shift away from unsustainable levels of private car use.

Letter 1, to the Mayor of London

In the first letter we were joined by London Living Streets, Campaign for Better Transport and CoMoUK to make the point that the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, as it currently stands clearly won’t get us to zero carbon roads by 2030 – even with the most optimistic projections for the switch to electric cars. This is something the Mayor should be deeply concerned about: if this outcome isn’t achieved, then the Mayor’s own target of a net zero London won’t be either. We called on him to do the following by 2030:

  • Eliminate the barriers to walking and cycling in London, including by completing a city-wide, accessible, high density cycling network and a network of attractive, low traffic walking routes to key destinations, and by making it safe to cross London’s streets.
  • Ensure every Londoner has convenient access to a reliable, frequent and affordable bus and tram service.
  • Work with the shared transport sector to ensuring that convenient and affordable access to on-demand alternatives to private motor car ownership, such as shared e-cycles and e-scooters and shared electric vehicles, are available to all.
  • Create a new, London-wide smart and fair road charging scheme – to help decarbonise our roads as well as reduce congestion and air pollution – the revenue from which can be invested in active travel and public transport.

You can read the full text here.

Letter 2, to the government

In our second letter we were joined by eight other NGOs, to call on Alok Sharma MP, the UK’s President of COP26, and Secretary of State for Transport Shapps, to recognise that the government’s refusal to provide proper funding for transport in London is impacting heavily on London’s ability to lead on climate action. We urged them to: “Ensure that London is given a proper and sufficient funding settlement, including the ability to retain and raise funds within London, to support decarbonising what is the largest transport system of any city in Europe… unless that happens, London’s ability to meet the decarbonisation targets you have rightly set is at serious risk, and therefore so too is that of the whole of the UK.” You can read the full text of the letter here and see who signed up here.

Letter 3, international

We also co-signed a third open, international letter from active travel NGOs to urge all governments to “commit to boosting cycling levels to reduce carbon emissions and reach global climate goals quickly and effectively”, arguing the case for cycling as a key response to climate action. Read the letter and see the 300+ organisations who signed it here.

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