15 November 2011: Last night, at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership awards, our Save our Buses campaign won runner up for ‘Low carbon initiative 2011’ and our CEO Stephen Joseph won ‘Outstanding individual in promoting low carbon transport’. A big thanks to all our supporters and local campaigners; we could not have done it without you.
It is great to have recognition for campaign success, and we were delighted to receive both awards last night. It is a good opportunity to reflect on the success we have had this year, and also to strengthen our resolve because there is a long hard battle ahead.
If the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) had been scrapped, as many of us feared it might have been at the time of the spending review last year, 131 million miles of bus routes would have been lost, forcing more people into cars, and resulting in up to an extra 63,000 tonnes of CO2 being released into our atmosphere. Thanks to assertive campaigning and lobbying, BSOG has not been scrapped as feared, but cut by 20 per cent in April 2012. This certainly is better than the worst case scenario, but the impacts will none the less be considerable. What decision-makers must realise is that the 20 per cent cut to BSOG will further damage an already severely weakened bus network due to the 28 per cent cut to local authority budgets for public transport and the £100 million reduction to the funding for the concessionary pass scheme.
It is essential that we remember that as well as economic challenges, we still face huge environmental challenges, and that getting people out of their cars and on to public transport will be a key part of the transition to a low-carbon future.