Last updated: July 2015





Consumer choice in the area of transport is very much constrained by the infrastructure around us. We may prefer to take the bus but there is no route going where we want to go. We may prefer cycling, but the six lane highway across the centre of the town makes it too dangerous. We therefore also need to act together as citizens to try to influence transport developments in ways we agree with.


Image of electric car


To some extent the 1% annual falls in transport impacts across Europe have occurred because there has been good regulation – particularly at a European level – encouraging car companies, amongst others, to take the right steps. [1]



Transport & Environment


Ethical Consumer’s go-to organisation on transport regulation is the pan-European lobby group Transport & Environment (T&E).

T&E’s grand vision for the future is an electrification strategy across all forms of transport and it is becoming increasingly confident in its vision.

It is a vision that is underpinned by the rapid development of new technologies which are encouraging environmental campaigners to be bolder with their view of what a sustainable future with true zero-carbon mobility might look like.

In a speech delivered to the European Parliament in March this year, T&E’s director, Jos Dings, explained why they support a broad electrification strategy for all land transport:

“Because oil is dirty, expensive, and imported. Because the same is true for gas. And because on biofuels, we have not yet seen a credible scenario for large-scale sustainable supply; you simply cannot bet on them.

But also because we are witnessing a revolution in green electricity. Solar electricity has become ten times cheaper in ten years. This is why in the past 70% of new electricity generation capacity installed in Europe was renewable. And because green electricity is very secure – it the most decentralised and domestic energy imaginable. And because batteries have become four times cheaper in 20 years.

Europe needs to come together and decide that sustainable electrification is the way forward for energy – also in transport.

Electrification is about much more than replacing a normal car engine with an electric one and a battery. It also includes rail (the electric transport we already have), ebikes, other small vehicles, and freight. It should include smart interaction with the power sector, and importantly, interoperability of recharging points [i.e. that all models of electric vehicle can use the same charging points] .

It should also seek to accelerate the sharing economy. Electric vehicles are perfect for fleets and shared use because they are quite expensive to buy, but cheap to use. And it should look at transport between cities and international transport too, and not just cover urban areas.” [1]



Supporting sustainable transport


Established in 1990, T&E represents around 50 organisations across Europe, mostly environmental groups and campaigners working for sustainable transport policies at national, regional and local level.
In this Report we have drawn on some of its work. Its lobbying for the new car emissions and fuel efficiency test (the World Light Duty Test Cycle) to be implemented in 2017 is covered in ‘Cheating the Tests’ article. Its lobbying in support of the ‘Euro 6’ standards for diesel engines, due to come into force this year, is also covered in ‘Choosing a lower impact car’ in our Cars product guide.

T&E also does important work not covered here on issues like, aviation, shipping, noise and opposing biofuels.


Although individuals cannot join or donate to T&E directly they can become involved with or help its member organisations. The four in the UK are:

1. The Environmental Transport Association
The ETA is a provider of vehicle breakdown, bicycle and travel insurance for UK consumers. For every insurance policy it sells, it makes a donation to the ETA Trust which campaigns for a more sustainable, safe, and healthy transport future

2. The Campaign for Better Transport

Works across England and Wales to support local and national groups and individuals to campaign in a number of different ways for sustainable transport. You can’t join but you can donate on its website.

3. Transform Scotland
Is a national alliance for sustainable transport, bringing together organisations like Virgin Trains, Sustrans and WWF. Individuals can become members.

4. The Aviation Environment Federation
The AEF is a UK NGO campaigning exclusively on the environmental impacts of aviation and promoting a sustainable future for the sector. Individuals can join and become members.

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