Government is moving towards a “clean transport policy” that will encourage the use of electric vehicles on the island’s roads.
Minister of Transport Michael Lashley told Parliament yesterday that arising out of the 2010 Green Economy Scoping Study, four main challenges had been identified.
These are traffic congestion, high fuel costs, the public’s attitude towards the use of public transport, and a lack of financial investment for greening the sector.
“It went on to say that it was necessary to identify a package of investment of policy reforms leading to the development and implementation of fuel performance, air and noise pollution standards, improved traffic management, and the use of mixed modes of transport.
“So we have decided against this background to develop and create a clean transport policy for Barbados. And indeed, the platforms of that policy would include the fact that we need to look at partnerships to ensure that there’s sufficient infrastructure for electric vehicles.”
Though acknowledging that these environmentally friendly vehicles were costly, he said there was need for the establishment of standards with respect to vehicles and gas emissions.
Lashley said Government was also working towards enactment of the corresponding legislation, adding that meetings were scheduled with the ministers of environment and energy in furtherance of the policy.
Minister of the Environment Denis Lowe supported the plan, describing it as “an important development” in his ministry.
Lowe said while discussions were already held on the issue of emissions, there was need for an emissions testing policy for the island, given the contribution of the transport sector to greenhouse gases.
“You discover that the generation of electricity and the generation of transportation results in about 76 per cent of all greenhouse gases emitted in Barbados,” he noted.
Lashley also said Government would press ahead with plans to amend the Road Traffic Act to outlaw the use of cellphones and hand-held devices by drivers.
Under the amended law, it will also be an offence for motorists to park in areas designated for the disabled, he said. (MCW)