Bedford transport emissions fell by record amount in 2020

It’s no surprise due to successive lockdowns

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 21st July 2022, 12:14 pm

Emissions caused by cars, trains and other vehicles in Bedford fell by a record amount in 2020, new figures show.

Friends of the Earth said though a national drop in transport emissions is not surprising due to successive lockdowns during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, the Government should do more to encourage people to switch to electric vehicles or ditch their cars entirely as emissions rebound.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy figures show transport – including cars, trains and other modes of travel – caused 262 kilo-tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (ktCO2e) emissions in Bedford in 2020.

The A421

This was down from 321 the year before and the largest decrease since 2005, when records began – that year, transport emissions hit 335 ktCO2e.

Carbon dioxide equivalent determines the amount of CO2 that would need to be emitted to equal the same global warming potential of other produced greenhouse gases.

Road vehicles accounted for 92% of transport emissions, while diesel-powered trains produced a further 6%.

Friends of the Earth attributed the dramatic fall to the general public travelling less during lockdown.

Mike Childs, head of policy, said rebounding traffic levels are now contributing to the Government's struggle in meeting its climate targets.

The Government pledged to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels and reach net zero by 2050.

Mr Childs said: "Ministers must do more to help people switch to electric vehicles or, better still, encourage them to leave their cars at home by providing better public transport and making it safer to walk and cycle."

A Government spokesperson said: "We have committed unprecedented funding to encourage walking and cycling, as well as to accelerate the roll-out of electric vehicles – both vital steps to reaching our world-leading net zero targets."

Nationally, 377,680 ktCO2e of greenhouse gases were emitted in 2020 – down from 416,168 the year prior.

Bedford's total greenhouse gas emissions fell to 755 ktC02e in 2020, down 10% from 755 the year before.

Of this, 35% was caused by transport, while commercial emissions accounted for 8%, industry produced 10% and domestic use 32%.

The average person in Bedford produced four tCO2e in 2020.