Government lays out challenges and steps to be taken when developing the transport decarbonisation plan

The government has published a policy paper Decarbonising Transport: Setting the Challenge setting the scene ahead of its planned Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

The Government will publish the final plan in autumn 2020 * see note.

The Government is developing an “ambitious plan” to accelerate the decarbonisation of transport.

The Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP) will set out in detail what government, business and society will need to do to deliver the significant emissions reduction needed across all modes of transport, putting the country on a pathway to achieving carbon budgets and net zero emissions across every single mode of transport by 2050.

The 80-page policy paper sets out:

  • how the government intends to work with others to develop a transport decarbonisation plan
  • the challenge we need to meet to reduce transport emissions and ensuring we reach net zero transport emissions by 2050
  • reviews of existing climate policy in transport
  • reviews of existing forecasts of future transport emissions from each mode of transport, plus as a whole
Transport became the largest emitting sector of GHG emissions in 2016. This followed large decreases in energy emissions while transport emissions remained relatively static

While there have been recently published strategies to reduce GHG emissions in individual transport modes, the journey to net zero demands that transport as a whole sector moves further, faster.

The TDP will take a coordinated, cross-modal approach to deliver the transport sector’s contribution to both carbon budgets and net zero, says the government.

Technical measures, such as the need for rapid renewal of the road vehicle fleet with zero emission vehicles, are well understood and will deliver substantial reductions in GHG emissions over the long term.

But to deliver the reductions needed now, and set us on a credible pathway to net zero, we also need to consider how we travel and how our goods and services reach us today, says the document. This is needed in parallel to the rapid development and deployment of clean technology.

UK domestic transport GHG emissions from 1990 to 2018

The document says: “We will 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, as well as taking urgent action on climate change.

“We will also consider how UK technology and innovation can support major changes to the way people and goods move across the UK and ensure the UK benefits from the opportunities decarbonisation presents.

“Over the coming months we will work closely with those in the transport sector with an interest in how it is decarbonised, its supporting supply chains, and the public and businesses that rely upon it to develop a comprehensive plan of actions.”

*[Post-story note: In December 2020 this was put back to ‘Spring 2021’, due to the effects of Covid]

Download the policy paper Decarbonising Transport: Setting the Challenge below:

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