Posted 30th May 2008 | No Comments

Brown makes climate change top of his agenda

Richard Brown, chief executive of Eurostar UK Ltd

EUROSTAR chief Richard Brown has taken over as head of one of Britain’s leading professional transport bodies – and declared climate change as his most important theme.

For the next year, Richard Brown, chief executive of Eurostar UK Ltd, is president of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK).
He is the first president of CILT to come from the rail industry since the Chartered Institute of Transport and the Institute of Logistics merged a
decade ago, when John Welsby, British Rail’s last chairman, was president of the CIT.

Speaking at a lunch to mark his inauguration, Mr Brown revealed three major themes for his presidential year – giving greater emphasis to the passenger transport sector, bringing young people into the rail industry and, “most important of all”, climate change.

Transport accounted for 25 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, said Mr Brown, and climate change was a “classic opportunity” for the transport and logistics industry.

Already this year, he said, National Express and First Group had announced big plans to reduce emissions by trains and buses, while Stagecoach planned a tree-planting project to offset emissions from buses in Scotland.

He also announced that a module on climate change was to be introduced into all CILT (UK) education and training programmes.

‘More tax on what we burn – less on what we earn’

Chief guest at Richard Brown’s inauguration was Steve Norris, former Tory transport minister during rail privatisation and now executive chairman of Jarvis plc. He outlined possible future Conservative government policy for rail, general transport and taxation.

“Transportation has moved massively up the political agenda. The debate has moved in a seismic way – from being about concrete and tarmac to Oyster cards and GPS.

“We have moved from the challenge of pollution and congestion to the issue of climate change.”

Transport accounted for about 25 per cent of UK domestic emissions. “The rub is that transport is the only sector that is still growing its emissions,” said Mr Norris, adding that government targets had been missed and traffic congestion had increased.

Legislation had a role to play in combating climate change and—hinting at possible future Tory policy—he said taxation needed to change.

“We need to tax more of what we burn, and less of what we earn. Switching taxation will relieve pressure on taxing social goods, which is a deterrent to social developments.”

A changed policy would mean less attention to road widening – which anyway was “pretty poor value for money,” he claimed.

Mr Norris said there needed to be more inter-city rail, which was clean, efficient and more reliable, as well as large investment in railway infrastructure. “These are the sort of ways, in the 21st century, we should be grappling with new transport policies and dynamics.”