Government publishes green transport plan

A green-print to decarbonising all modes of domestic transport has been set out by the Government. The Transport decarbonisation plan is intended to set out a credible pathway for the whole transport sector to reach net zero by 2050.

An improvement to public transport is one of the pledges in the Government’s transport decarbonisation plan. The document also announces the Government’s intention to phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by 2040, subject to consultation. This is in addition to the 2035 phase-out date for polluting cars and vans. The consultation proposes a 2035 phase-out date for vehicles weighing from 3.5 to 26 tonnes and 2040 for vehicles weighing more than 26 tonnes or earlier if a faster transition seems feasible.

The Government believes its efforts towards making transport in the UK greener will ensure the air is cleaner and will reduce time spent in traffic.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) believes the publishing of the Transport decarbonisation plan is an opportunity to create modal shift away from cars and onto buses and coaches.

“Today’s plan is an opportunity to begin that work by focusing on cross government policies that get people out of their cars and onto buses and coaches” – CPT

A spokesperson from CPT said: “With cars and taxis contributing 55% of transport’s greenhouse gas emissions we need urgent action to reduce car journeys if we want to be on track to deliver net zero by 2050.

“Today’s plan is an opportunity to begin that work by focusing on cross government policies that get people out of their cars and onto buses and coaches, which has an immediate impact in reducing carbon emissions. We also need to see measures that discourage car use including measures such as transparent road pricing schemes that can reward sustainable travel choices fairly reflecting their environmental impact.

“The industry is committed to moving towards zero emission fleets but this must be as part of a realistic long-term roadmap, alongside sufficient funding, so operators can plan their investments accordingly.”

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The automotive sector welcomes the publication of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan and associated consultations, which are necessary to create a clear and supportive framework to accelerate the transition to zero mobility. The industry is already delivering with an ever-expanding range of electrified vehicles which are being bought in ever greater numbers. However, achieving net zero cannot rely solely on the automotive sector. Massive investment, not least in infrastructure, is necessary and must be delivered at accelerated pace, for which we still await a plan and equally ambitious targets. Crucially, we must maintain a strong and competitive market that ensures the shift to electrified vehicles is affordable for all.”

Commenting on the heavy commercial vehicle segment, Mike said: “The industry is developing many types of zero-emission technologies for heavy commercial vehicles, with electric, hydrogen and other alternative fuel options available. However, the technologies are still in their infancy.”

Mike believes if the UK wants to be a leader in uptake in this technology, the Government must provide the right incentives and infrastructure so heavy vehicle operators do not defer their decarbonising decision to the last minute. He added: “Plus, given these vehicles operate across borders, we need to ensure the solutions work both for the UK and our close international markets.”

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