Molly today helped launch European Mobility Week in Brussels, an annual awareness raising campaign that aims to encourage the use of public transport, cycling and walking. Her own deep commitment to sustainable transport made her an ideal person to attend such an event:
“I’m a bit of a hardliner when it comes to transport choices!” she told the launch.
“My commitment to not flying and to using alternatives to car travel have included a voyage from Brazil to Europe by cargo ship and a recent return trip to Riga in Latvia by land and sea which took four times as long as the meeting I was attending! I don’t own a car, although I do sometimes use a car club car or hire car to reach parts of my large constituency that are badly served or not served at all by public transport.”
Molly, an economist who sits on the Economics Committee in the European Parliament, talked about fiscal incentives and argued that tax subsidies in many EU Member States still favour commuting by car. She called for redirecting incentives towards sustainable modes of transport and in particular talked about the Bike2Work scheme which encourages commuting by bicycle . She said:
“Studies repeatedly show that employees who cycle to work are happier and healthier, experience less absence from work due to sickness and are less susceptible to delays caused by congestion. Cycling to work therefore clearly provides economic benefits to employers as well as to the wider community. It means less pollution in urban areas and so improved public health.”
The launch of European Mobility Week comes as new evidence suggests air pollution is leading to the deaths of around 23,500 people a year in the UK and a new report has found 90% of new diesel cars break EU pollution limits. Molly concluded:
“The powerful motoring and aviation lobbies have led us down a path of high carbon emissions, air pollution and congestion. It is high time we reclaimed our air, our health and our climate through a massive shift to sustainable modes of transport”.