Smart Transport

Two-thirds say transport decarbonisation policies won't meet net zero

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Four in five (80%) believe decarbonisation of UK road transport by 2050 is possible, but two thirds (66%) say policies so far enacted or announced are ‘not enough’, Zemo Partnership survey finds. 

The initial findings follow the publication of the Government's transport decarbonisation plan, which includes proposals to only allow the sale of zero-emission new heavy vans and trucks by 2040. The Government has already committed to ending the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030, and hybrids by 2035. 

Addressing the Zemo Partnership Conference, transport minister Rachel Maclean described the transport decarbonisation plan as “rightly ambitious but achievable”. 

She said: “COP26 will be a crucial moment to test our global commitment to fight rising temperatures and prevent irreversible damage to our planet. In the UK, nothing short of a green industrial revolution will do.”

Survey respondents believe that while the electrification of road transport is an important component of the transition to net zero emissions, there needs to be more focus on behavioural measures to achieve the goal.   

Key initial findings from the survey are:

  • Around 58% of respondents believe that behaviour change will deliver as much, or greater, carbon reductions than technology (42% said we need to focus equally on technology shift/behaviour change while 16% said behaviour change has the greater potential).
  • More than 70% of respondents think that the 2030/5 phase-out dates for the sale of new cars and vans are realistic (17% have already made the switch, while 53% feel the timing is 'about right').
  • More than 66% of respondents think that there will be cost effective zero emission technologies available to allow the delivery of goods by 2040. However, a significant minority (30%) think it will be 2050 – or even later – before such technologies are available.
  • Nearly 70% of respondents think that they will be able to cut their household's carbon emissions from travel to zero (or near zero) by the Government’s 2050 target date. However around 15% think it’s unrealistic.
  • Over 66% of respondents think that there will be cost effective zero emission technologies available to allow the delivery of goods by 2040. However, a significant minority (30%) think it will be 2050 – or even later – before such technologies are available.

Zemo Partnership’s chief executive, Andy Eastlake, announcing details of the organisation’s ‘acceleration programme’ said: “Our privileged position - bridging government and the widest range of members together - will enable us to work the detail of many of the 78 commitments seen in the transport decarbonisation plan.

“Across all road vehicles and fuels our members have committed to drive progress to zero emissions.  Our new acceleration programme of key projects and new initiatives embraces the much wider range of stakeholders needed and their appetite to accelerate the pace of change, not only in terms of technology, but of energy, infrastructure, information and behaviour. We aim to deliver this using hard evidence, clear targets and widespread engagement.”

“As transport, technology and systems converge, so does our need to think differently. Operating in our traditional, closed silos is no longer enough.

 “The TDP (transport decarbonisation plan) has set the finish line and fired the starting gun. We are now all in a race against the climate change clock in which no one can get left behind.”

Tell us your views on the transport decarbonisation plan

Do you broadly agree with the Government’s transport decarbonisation plan?

Let us know by taking part in our poll or leave a comment below.


Watch now: Connecting Policy To Solutions Virtual Conference 2021

Smart Transport Conference returned on June 8th & 9th, to facilitate pivotal discussions on the future of transport. 

The UK’s most senior public and private sector transport leaders discussed the impact of Covid-19, achieving the Government’s decarbonisation ambitions, the need for more efficient living and better health, and much more.

Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who spoke on BEIS's approach to decarbonising transport, particularly the electrification of the vehicle industry. Watch his presentation below:


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