Keep Europe moving….but why?

Keep Europe Moving – så heter den mitti-perioden-granskning som EU gjort av sitt White Paper for Transport. Och visst, det blev precis så illa som man kunde befara. Den 22 juni släppte EU-kommisionen sin Mid Term Review av EU:s White Paper om transporter från 2001. Och ryktena hade rätt – alla typer av eftertanke och miljömål överges. Nu är det tillväxt som gäller. Mitt tidigare inlägg från den 17 maj stämmer allt för väl.

John Whitelegg, som är professor vid Stockholm Environment Institute at York, Department of Biology, University of York, och en av Europas främste tänkare kring transporter och miljö, har skrivit en ledare i senaste numret av World Transport Policy & Practice kring ämnet. Det innehåller en svidande kritik av EU:s Mid Term Review. Och tyvärr kan man inte annat än hålla med.

Jag tycker Johns synpunkter är så intressanta och bra så jag bad honom att få publicera dem här på min blogg och här kommer de. Stort tack till John för att jag fick publicera dem här.

Det är ett ganska långt stycke, men borde läsas av alla planerare och politiker. Om du tycker det är för jobbigt att läsa på skärm så kan du ladda ner WP&P Volume 12, nr 2, på länken längst ner, och skriva ut den.

” For those of us who keep wondering how it is possible for transport impacts and transport policies so be so bad and transport analysis so lacking in intelligence, things are now much clearer. In recent weeks the European Commission has released its mid term review of the 2001 transport white paper. The review is very clear indeed about the objectives of transport policy and these objectives make it perfectly clear that we will never solve our transport problems. The objectives are selfdefeating, problem generating and hopelessly out of touch with the principles of sustainable development. Perhaps more importantly they mislead the 400 million+ citizens of the European Union into thinking that all is well with a mobility greedy and infrastructure friendly policy. Sadly this is not the case and all of us are in for a nasty shock as capacity constraints are breached and environmental problems start behaving like a runaway nuclear reaction.

The June statement from Brussels is very honest:

  • Mobility is an essential citizen right
  • It is the objective of the EU to offer a highlevel of mobility
  • CO2 emissions are a challenge
  • Facilitating mobility (will be pursued) “as the quintessential purpose of transport policy”
  • The internal air transport market is an engine for growth

At the heart of the European Commission’s wayward thinking about transport is its dreadfully gloomy rejection of sustainability drivers. On page 27 of this document in a few pie charts the Commission presents its vision of the future (modal split for people in 2020). Key points include:

  • No mention of walking and cycling
  • Passenger cars at 77% (up from the current situation)
  • Bus and coach at 6% (down from the current situation)
  • Railways at 5% (down from the current situation)
  • Tram and metro at 1% (same as the current situation)
  • Air at 11% (up from the current situation)

In addition we will still be killing 20,000 European citizens each year in 2010 and churning out vast amounts of greenhouse gases. In the 14 years of this journal’s existence we have rarely seen such a dreadful document. The European Commission has just given up and given in. It clearly does not understand sustainability, demand management and quality of life in our communities. It clearly does not understand the links between accessibility, mobility and spatial planning which in over 50 years of development has shown that public policy should be about increasing access to things and planning for a rich menu of destinations and opportunities in our urban and rural areas. There can be no merit in pushing mobility. Is the European Commission really content with a policy objective that actually encourages more travel? What possible merit is there in travelling 20kms to gain access to a school, clinic or shop if this can be achieved over 10kms or 5kms? Will we see annual reports from the Commission congratulating us on yet again achieving a doubling of miles travelled? This is too close to Soviet style tractor factory management practices in 1930s Vladivostok and has no place in a sustainable Europe.

The Commission also speaks about citizen rights. It is easy to link any policy to “rights” but how will we deal with the rights of children and the elderly to live in a safe environment in our city and move around free from traffic danger? How will we deal with the rights of those that live in cities and practice living without a car when their residential streets are over-run by suburban and rural car owners who have opted for an energy intensive life style which then multiplies environmental injustice? How will we deal with the rights of 250,000 people who live in the London Boroughs of Hounslow and Hillingdon when they are subjected to aircraft noise caused by people flying to a shopping trip in New York or a weekend party in Prague? Rights should always be linked to responsibilities and duties and the state has a role to play in getting this right.

Our trajectory is now clear. More and more travel is a good thing and we will supply whatever roads and car parking and airports and runways that are needed to achieve this. Maybe we will also redefine energy policy to tell the same story. We want all European citizens to double their use of electricity in the next 15-20 years and we don’t want to hear any nonsense about demand management, least cost planning, conservation etc. It is our right to use more, consume more and extend this vision of unconstrained demand without consequences into every area of life (energy, waste, pollution).

June 22nd 2006 is a sad day for Europe. We have all been badly let down by the latest statement on transport policy and it reveals the hopelessness and bankruptcy of the organisational intelligence that produced such a monster. In this issue of WTPP we will continue to celebrate the intelligent life that strives to reengineer and re-orientate out transport polices and practices. Articles in this issue take a detailed look at the potential for compressed natural gas in the Swiss passenger car sector, Italian highway building practices and policies to
deal with transport’s burden on the environment. All raise important policy questions and deserve debate and comment to develop the contributions further.

As always we welcome replies, rejoinders and comments.”

John Whitelegg


Mitt varningsinlägg den 17 maj
Mid Term Review
World Policy & Pratice Volume 12, nr 2

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