A Manifesto for Decarbonising Transport: Professionals set out urgency

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A group of leading transport professionals and stakeholders has published a ‘Manifesto for Decarbonising Transport’.

Convened by not-for-profit Greener Transport Solutions (GTS), the group has concluded that UK needs to reduce traffic in addition to rolling out zero emission vehicles and must have a credible national programme for behaviour change.

It also says a complete reform of motoring taxation is needed as we transition from fossil-driven transport.

In its introduction to the Manifesto, GTS expresses support the UK Government’s commitment to decarbonise the economy while sharing a “deep concern that much greater urgency and action is needed to address the challenge society faces”. 

The group says that the UK has a special responsibility as hosts of the COP26 UN Climate Summit and notes that the UK is “well positioned to demonstrate strong policies and to show leadership”.

Transport is the biggest emitting sector of the UK economy and the fastest growing source of global greenhouse gas emissions.  

The group welcomes the July 2021 Transport Decarbonisation Plan as “a welcome first step”.  It supports the target of phasing out sales of all new polluting road vehicles by 2040.  However, it says, urgent attention must now be given to reducing the volume of traffic on our roads.

The group concludes that achieving our carbon reduction targets will require:

  1. Traffic reduction in addition to the roll out of zero emissions vehicles;
  2. A complete reform of motoring taxation as we transition from petrol and diesel vehicles; and
  3. A credible national programme for delivering behaviour change.

The Manifesto says that 60% of the decarbonisation task for transport needs to be done in the next decade if we are to be on track for the net zero target.

Members of the group include:

  • Claire Haigh (Chair), Founder & CEO of Greener Transport Solutions
  • Professor Jillian Anable, Chair in Transport and Energy, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
  • Stephen Glaister CBE, Emeritus Professor of Transport and Infrastructure at Imperial College London, Associate of the London School of Economics
  • Professor Peter Jones OBE, Professor of Transport and Sustainable Development in the UCL Centre for Transport Studies
  • Professor Glenn Lyons, Mott MacDonald Professor of Future Mobility, University of the West of England
  • Professor Greg Marsden, Professor of Transport Governance, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
  • Paul Campion, CEO of TRL
  • Hilary Chipping, CEO South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Leon Daniels OBE, Chair Highways Sector Council
  • Andy Eastlake, CEO, Zemo Partnership 
  • Victoria Hills, CEO Royal Town Planning Institute
  • Paul Hirst, Head of the Transport Sector Group at Addleshaw Goddard
  • Stephen Joseph OBE, Trustee of the Foundation for Integrated Transport & Visiting Professor at University of Hertfordshire and
  • Maria Machancoses, Chief Executive of Midlands Connect
  • Kamal Panchal, Senior Adviser on Transport and Local Growth Policy, Local Government Association (Observer)
  • Anna Rothnie, Principal Transport Planner
  • Anthony Smith, CEO of Transport Focus

The findings have been informed by extensive research and long experience of group members as well as by a series of webinars which were conducted earlier this year (and now available for review here).

Alongside the Manifesto, Greener Transport Solutions also published the results of a survey of 260 Transport Times readers, conducted between 17 August and 15 September 2021 on what it would take to decarbonise transport. The key findings were:

  • 92% agreed that the need for travel should be reduced by investing in digital connectivity, alongside sustainable transport, with 64% strongly agreeing.
  • 89% agreed that the UK Government should commit and put in place policies to ensure a reduction in car kilometres travelled of 20% by 2030, with 71% strongly agreeing.
  • 85% identified that the £40bn blackhole from the demise of Fuel Duty and Vehicle Excise Duty revenues made alternative funding through road pricing ‘inevitable’. 59% strongly agree with this and only 3% strongly disagree.
  • 89% believe it would not be possible for local authorities to achieve their climate goals without clarity on how car users will pay for transport as we shift away from petrol and diesel cars, with 63% strongly agreeing.
  • 81% believe that a national road charging scheme is the only way to manage road mileage demand with over half (53%) strongly agreeing.

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