Radical changes will be made to transport in order to address climate change, transport minister Rachel Maclean (pictured) told attendees at the Virtual Smart Transport Conference.
"We are on the cusp of making radical changes in the future of UK transportation, from the cars we drive, to how we get our goods and more fundamentally, the way that we travel and how we access services,” Maclean said.
The Government has been working on an overarching decarbonisation plan, encompassing all modes of transport, which Maclean confirmed is due to be published by the end of the year.
It will “set out the path that we'll take to deliver our net zero objectives, together with our partners across the transport sector,” Maclean said
Government, industry and academia all need to come together to decarbonise transport in a revolution that will be “no less historic than the coming of the railways or commercial aviation”, according to Maclean.
“The opportunities for UK businesses to be at the forefront of this revolution are huge,” she said.
“We are in an excellent position to capture a significant part of the growing zero emission vehicle market, and lead on the technical innovations that will change the way we travel.
“Of course, we already have considerable expertise. For example, in the design and manufacture of electric vehicle charge points and our work in areas like smart charging and energy storage could help us lead the creation of emerging business models and help shape a market that's expected to see unprecedented growth over the next two decades.”
In making the switch to zero emission vehicles, Maclean said that there was “no time to lose” if the UK is to achieve its targets and that is why the Government has consulted on bringing forward the date that new petrol and diesel powered cars and vans, including hybrids, are no longer sold in this country forward from 2040.
Maclean said that the Government had received “a large number of detailed responses”, which it was working through and the outcome of the consultation will be announced “in due course”.
The current poll on the Smart Transport website shows that most are in favour of an earlier ban (50.4% would like it to be brought forward to 2030 while 8.5% believe it should be 2035, have your say here).
“People want change”
Maclean also highlighted how the Covid-19 pandemic has had "a huge impact" on the country and on individuals, and that some of the transformational improvements that need to be made to transport are "within touching distance".
"People want change, they understand we can't go back to how things were before," she said.
"We've seen the desire of so many in these last few months to exercise more and travel more sustainably, we have grown accustomed to quiet streets in town centres.
“So we now have a great opportunity to lock in and build on those benefits, making lasting changes to the way we travel to help make our country greener and healthier, and to deliver clean economic growth.”
- The Virtual Smart Transport conference continues today (October 21) and Thursday (October 22), and the full agenda is available here: conference.smarttransport.org.uk/agenda-5.
- Registration for the conference is FREE via conference.smarttransport.org.uk. Delegates that sign-up now and miss any content will be able to watch recordings of any sessions they have missed and reach out to speakers and headline strategic partners through email, chat and one-to-one meetings.
- Smart Transport would like to thank its Headline Strategic Partners for their support with this virtual event including ABB, AECOM, Centrica, DAF Trucks, Enterprise, FedEx, Geotab, LeasePlan, Liberty Global, Macquarie, PJA, Raleigh, Renault and Worldline.