Local councils can drive down transport pollution: new report

Australia’s local councils can drive down transport pollution that is causing worsening climate change, according to a new report from the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership.

The new report, Waiting for the Green Light: Sustainable Transport Solutions for Local Government, identifies actions that local governments can take action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from transport, such as setting strong transport emissions reduction targets, prioritising walking, cycling and public transport use and discouraging car use in towns and cities.

Cities Power Partnership energy analyst Petra Stock says that local councils can be a driving force in reducing Australia’s rising transport pollution, which saw emissions rise by 3.4% over 2017.

“Local governments setting strong council and community targets to reduce transport pollution and ramp up public transport use, cycling and walking have the potential to make serious inroads into reducing vehicle emissions,” she said.

“Many councils across Australia are already taking action to slash vehicle emissions, such as Cities Power Partnership member Moreland’s integrated transport network and Canberra’s plan to increase electric vehicle uptake.

“The local government drive towards clean, effective transport is underway, but we need to see more councils taking action to slam the brakes on Australia’s worsening transport pollution problem.”

The report sets out recommendations for local governments, including:

1. Develop a climate and transport policy and action plan, including setting targets for zero-emissions transport and public and active transport use, and introducing electric vehicles into council fleet.

2. Gather data on local transport patterns, and facilities for walking, riding and public transport.

3. Encourage sustainable transport use by local government staff and for access to local government facilities and events.

4. Encourage sustainable transport use (public transport, walking and cycling) through strategic, transport and statutory planning and design. This may include working with neighbouring councils to create connected, efficient access for public transport, cycling and walking.

5. Provide for adequate cycle lanes (both space and connectivity) and provide bicycle parking and end-of-ride facilities. Encourage building owners and operators to provide end-of-trip facilities such as bicycle parking and change rooms.

The full report can be accessed on the Cities Power Partnership website.