Regulating transport environmental impacts in a deregulating world

2008-09-08T08:36:37Z (GMT) by Stephen Potter Marcus Enoch
In recent years, a growing awareness of the environmental impacts of transport has played a major part in the shift towards policies to manage the demand for travel. As a result, a substantial increase in the role of public transport has been identified as necessary in any strategy towards more environmentally sustainable transport patterns. At the same time there has been a quite separate process of deregulation and the withdrawal of the state from the transport market. These two trends appear to represent potentially contradictory processes. This article draws upon two major studies that explore the relationship between increasing needs for environmental regulation and the privatisation of bus and rail services. It is shown that, as currently organised in Britain, the development of bus and rail services are inadequately linked to strategic environmental policymaking and, rather than being part of the solution to transport’s environmental impacts, there is a real danger that these ‘green’ methods of transport could slide into simply being part of the problem itself. It is concluded that privatisation and deregulation does not mean the end of the need for policy mechanisms, but they do mean that policy has to be implemented in a very different way.