Go-Ahead's response to Transport Select Committee's consultation on zero emission vehicles and road pricing
The Transport Select Committee (TSC) launched an inquiry in December into zero emission vehicles and road pricing. At that time TSC Chair Huw Merriman stated that “A consequence of the transition to electric vehicles is a potential £40 billion annual fiscal black hole, due to the reduction in Fuel Duty and Vehicle Excise Duty. Something will have to change. We will be exploring whether radical road pricing or ‘pay-as-you-drive’ schemes can offer a revenue-raising solution to this problem".
In our response, we have welcomed a widespread transition to zero emission vehicles generally in the UK, but emphasised that achieving net zero will also need behavioural change to greater use of active travel and public transport.
Go-Ahead is the largest operator of electric buses in the UK and aims to have a zero emissions bus fleet by 2035. The Government’s commitment to 4,000 new zero emission buses is welcome but it needs to introduce a deliverable funding model and reform the Bus Services Operators Grant (BSOG). A transition to zero emission buses also needs joined up energy infrastructure planning, and modal shift to bus use to realise the full value of the investment.
Road pricing can address the loss of fuel duty revenue and enable efficient allocation of road space with more room for buses, cycling and walking. We recommend prioritising urban schemes that tackle both congestion and vehicle emissions. Public opinion is moving in favour of road pricing and this should be encouraged with a vision of living, healthy streets and faster, more reliable journeys.