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Decarbonising Transport

Climate change is the most pressing environmental challenge of our time. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that we need to take action, and doing so is a clear priority for the Government. That is why in June 2019 we became the first major global economy to pass a law that requires us to achieve ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. Transport has a huge role to play in the economy reaching net zero. The scale of the challenge demands a step change in both the breadth and scale of ambition and we have a duty to act quickly and decisively to reduce emissions. The associated benefits of bold and ambitious action to tackle transport emissions are also significant. We can improve people’s health, create better places to live and travel in, and drive clean economic growth. The UK is a global centre for worldleading science, technology, business and innovation and we are perfectly placed to seize the economic opportunities that being in the vanguard of this change presents. The faster we act, the greater the benefits. Through the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, 2020 will be the year we set out the policies and plans needed to tackle transport emissions. This document marks the start of this process. It gives a clear view of where we are today and the size of emissions reduction we need. A series of events, workshops and opportunities this year will ensure you have a chance to have your say on how we do this. We want to hear from individuals, businesses, trade associations, local authorities, scientists, researchers, innovators, interest groups and environmental groups as we develop the first comprehensive action plan for decarbonising transport. In the coming months we will work with you to develop the plan, with a vision for how a net zero transport system will benefit us all:

  • Public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities. We will use our cars less and be able to rely on a convenient, cost-effective and coherent public transport network.
  • From motorcycles to HGVs, all road vehicles will be zero emission. Technological advances, including new modes of transport and mobility innovation, will change the way vehicles are used.
  • Our goods will be delivered through an integrated, efficient and sustainable delivery system.
  • Clean, place-based solutions will meet the needs of local people. Changes and leadership at a local level will make an important contribution to reducing national GHG emissions.
  • The UK will be an internationally recognised leader in environmentally sustainable, lowcarbon technology and innovation in transport.
  • We will lead the development of sustainable biofuels, hybrid and electric aircraft to lessen and remove the impact of aviation on the environment and by 2050, zero emission ships will be commonplace globally.

We will also look to develop a universally recognised measure so that in future, people can easily compare how much CO2 different forms of transport emit over a certain distance. Success will require the sector, and its users, to embrace new technology and innovation like never before. We believe the transport sector is ready to step up and meet those challenges. As we move towards a net zero GHG emissions transport system, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the UK is on a journey with the rest of the world. Action is needed beyond the UK, and we are in a unique position to demonstrate real leadership domestically, as well as leading change in sectors that require global solutions, such as international shipping and aviation. This document marks the beginning of a conversation to develop the policies needed to decarbonise transport. As we prepare to host the UN’s annual climate change conference COP26 in Glasgow this November, we will publish our Transport Decarbonisation Plan which will set out how we intend to transform the movement of people, goods and services to reach net zero. Full Report here

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