The transport sector once again takes centre stage, as the European Environment Agency criticizes the green credentials of motor vehicles, freight transport and rail networks. Highlighting the need to shift investments in the current economic climate to more sustainable and energy efficient modes, Professor Jacqueline McGlade, EEA executive director, added that
“…trends in transport are pointing in the wrong direction and will continue to contribute to air pollution, rising emissions of greenhouse gas and many negative environmental impacts.”
Jaguar Land Rover has just received a £330m bailout from the European Investment Bank to safeguard its 15,000 jobs an make investments in low emission technologies. The loan, the repayment of which will be guaranteed by the British government, is for a research and development project on reducing emissions. Jaguar Land Rover has been seeking Government assistance for some time and has recently put its workforce on a four-day week to avoid job losses.
The UK government received renewed pleas for an industry bailout from the motoring industry this week. Lobby groups are hoping April’s budget will include a ‘scrappage scheme’ – where car owners are given a financial incentive of about £2,000 to swap their old vehicle for a new greener model.
Whilst no decision has been announced, it is believed the scheme, which increased sales by 40% in March, attracting half a million buyers when it was introduced in Germany; is being taken seriously by MPs. Statistics showed yesterday that sales of cars in the UK have dropped almost a third year on year. However, environmental campaigners highlight that the transport sector has been slow to introduce more environmental vehicles, and said that the money could be better used to fund sustainable transport solutions. There was also a fear that funds could be diverted from existing budgets set aside by the government for investment in green technologies, such as the £400m earmarked in the pre-budget report for an “environmental transformation fund”, which supports the development of new low-carbon energy and energy efficiency technologies in the UK.
A new report, The State of Green Investing 2009, by Progressive Investor, a green investment newsletter, has increased confidence in green investments, backed by positive signs from the stock market. The US report adds that the green industry is “at the nexus of stimulus support by governments around the world”.