In an 87-point plan for slashing pollution levels by 60% below 1990 levels before 2050 - three times the current Government target for 2010 - the Royal Commission, one of the key influencers of Government opinion on transport, has set out its vision of how Britain is to achieve a cleaner environment.
Although the Commission throws its weight behind fuel cell vehicles, it ignores gaseous fuels, such as LPG and CNG and admits road users will continue to depend on petrol and diesel for 'decades'.
The report, called Energy - The Changing Climate, includes a five-pronged attack on emissions. It recommends the Government and devolved administrations are provided with 'sustained political and financial support' to introduce congestion and workplace parking charges 'on a scale that can make a significant contribution to reducing transport's rising carbon dioxide emissions'. The report warns this could mean charges at the highest level predicted, with estimates of nearly £400 per space per year.
It also urges a 'wide differential' on Vehicle Excise Duty between the highest and lowest bands, with a move to more bands than the four currently planned for March next year.
It welcomed Government moves to a subsidy for low emission vehicles and higher taxes on more polluting vehicles and backed plans for a carbon tax, to reflect the harm inflicted by fossil fuels.
But the report criticised the current Government for its 'slow progress' in introducing the initiatives laid out in the Transport White Paper and failing to invest more of the revenues from the fuel duty escalator to improving alternatives to car use.'
Sir Tom Blundell, chairman of the Royal Commission, said: 'The problems are complex and there are no easy answers. We hope the analysis and recommendations in our report will begin the wide debate that will be essential.'