Perhaps little noticed in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown, the Department for Transport (DfT) published its Decarbonising Transport Setting the Challenge paper, described by transport secretary Grant Shapps not as a conventional consultation on specific policy proposals, but rather “the beginning of a conversation to develop the policies needed to decarbonise transport”.
Indeed, the paper admits: “While we know the scale of the challenge, we do not currently know the optimal path for delivering a decarbonised transport network.
“We, therefore, intend to work with business, academics, researchers and innovators, environmental NGOs and the wider public over 2020 to design the package of decarbonisation policies that can serve the needs of both passengers and wider society, and deliver our goals.”
A final version had been planned for autumn 2020 in the run-up to the COP26 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Glasgow though that event has been postponed to spring 2021 due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
It is part of efforts to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 through a transport decarbonisation plan that covers all modes.
The paper stresses that the DfT wants measures to “help make public transport and active travel the natural first choice for daily activities” and use a “convenient and cost-effective” public transport network to reduce car trips. It also seeks to encourage cycling and walking for short journeys.
There is also a somewhat grand ambition “to position the UK as an internationally recognised leader of environmentally sustainable technology and innovation in transport”.
Read Mark Smulian's full article on sustainability from Smart Transport Journal