The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) has warned that a one-size-fits-all approach to net zero carbon emissions is likely to have disproportionate societal effects on already challenged rural communities.
The Institute’s latest report, "The challenge of future carbon and emissions reduction for rural communities", states that rural communities may be left behind if consideration is not given to these areas on the road to net zero carbon.
The paper discusses what makes the rural environment unique, meaning it requires different consideration in policy-making.
Morag Robertson, committee member, freight and logistics policy group, CILT(UK), and co-author of the report, said: “The economics of transport in rural areas is very different from urban settings. This in turn makes decarbonisation a potentially different challenge to face.
“This report notes the differences between rural and urban travel patterns, community and rural business needs and the nuances of public transport in rural areas.
“The economic role of the rural economy is significant and presents real opportunities to support the government’s drive to decarbonisation.”
The report highlights a number of challenges and opportunities for the logistics and transport sector in rural areas to play its part in the government’s road to net zero carbon by 2035.
The report looks at the difficulties of offering rail and bus operations, linking shared services alongside electric infrastructure support, the opportunity for the agricultural sector to explore cleaner energy options, as well as how the trend to working from home will change the dynamics of rural transport.
Kevin Richardson, CILT UK chief executive, said: “The journey to zero will be difficult without considered communication and engagement with rural communities and businesses from government.
“If policies do not address the unique challenges of decarbonisation in the rural environment, there is a risk that people and businesses will suffer further social and economic disadvantage.”