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DfT announces UK's first transport decarbonisation plan

Tue 15 October 2019 | Back to news list

The Government has announced plans for the full decarbonisation of the transport sector by 2050. The announcement follows four months after the UK legislated for net zero emissions by 2050 and is published as a formal response to the latest progress report from the Committee on Climate Change. 

The Government says that the groundwork for the Transport Decarbonisation Plan will start immediately, with the Department for Transport (DfT) publishing a document setting out the challenge later this year. Due to be completed next year, the plan will set out in detail what government, business and society must do to deliver the emissions reductions needed from all modes of transport. In particular, the Government says, it will consider how UK technology and innovation can be implemented to encourage major changes to the way people and goods move across the UK.

DfT has recently published sector strategies to cut carbon emissions across transport, including the Road to ZeroMaritime 2050 and the Clean Maritime Plan as well as the Aviation 2050 green paper, and upcoming aviation strategy, scheduled for publication early next year.

The Government says: "...with the move to net zero, there is a need to go further and faster to reduce emissions. The Transport Decarbonisation Plan will take a coordinated, cross-modal approach to deliver the transport sector’s contribution to our decarbonisation targets."

The Government points to transport-focused measures that have already been announced since the commitment to net zero was enshrined in law. It says investments of around £2 billion have been made in low carbon technologies to lead the race in developing solutions to tackle climate change. In the transport area, these recent measures include:

  • Up to £1 billion to develop and embed the next generation of cutting-edge automotive technologies. The funding will look to accelerate mass production of key technologies in the UK through major investments in the manufacturing of batteries including cells, modules and packs as well as electric motors, power electronics and hydrogen fuel cells.
  • £400 million of investment in new charging infrastructure for electric vehicles

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "From driving our cars, to catching a train or taking a flight abroad, it is crucial that we ensure transport is as environmentally friendly as possible. This is why, as well as agreeing to the CCC’s recommendation on net zero by 2050, we have launched this ground-breaking plan to achieve net zero emissions across every single mode of transport.

"We want to work with industry and communities around the country to develop this plan – to make our towns and cities better places to live, help to create new jobs, improve air quality and our health, and take urgent action on climate change."

The Government has also announced that a new Environment Bill - published as a component of the Queen's Speech (14 Oct) - will also be introduced in Parliament. The Bill outlines proposals, which it says will strengthen the UK’s standards of environmental protection post-Brexit, with the establishment of a new public body – the Office for Environmental Protection - which will also hold Government and other public bodies to account on their environmental obligations, including on climate change.

Commenting on the recent developments, LowCVP's Managing Director Andy Eastlake said: "The Government's commitment to introduce a transport plan for meeting the new, tougher 2050 net zero targets is necessary and welcome.

"Delivering this transport future will require a combination of an efficient, clean transport system and a zero carbon energy system, delivered in partnership.

"Progress on this needs to be rapid and, as ever, the devil will be in the detail.

"The Road to Zero strategy laid out some positive first steps and we need to accelerate their implementation, but our level of ambition must be scaled-up considerably to reach net zero.

"The Transport Secretary calls for even closer collaboration between government, industries and civil society. The LowCVP is already showing how this can be done through our coordination of the Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce (due to report its findings shortly) and a range of other initiatives designed to cut emissions from road vehicles and the fuels they use."



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