The Government has published its new transport decarbonisation plan which will aim to decarbonise all modes of domestic transport by 2050.
With just months to go until the COP26 climate summit, the plan provides a ‘world-leading Greenprint’ to cut emissions from the seas, skies, roads and railways, setting out a new pathway for the whole transport sector to reach net zero by 2050.
Cleaner transport will create and support highly skilled jobs, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, with the production of zero-emission road vehicles alone having the potential to support tens of thousands of jobs worth up to £9.7 billion GVA in 2050.
The ‘Greenprint’ includes the intention to phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by 2040. Combined with the 2035 phase out date for polluting cars and vans, this represents a world-leading pledge to phase out all polluting road vehicles within the next two decades. 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.
With billions of pounds in investment already pledged including £2 billion in cycling and walking and £2.8 billion to support industry and motorists to make the switch to cleaner vehicles, the transport decarbonisation plan also sets out how the Government will improve public transport and increase support for active travel to make them the natural first choice for all who can take them – creating a net zero rail network by 2050, ensuring net zero domestic aviation emissions by 2040 and leading the transition to green shipping.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Transport is not just how you get around. It is something that fundamentally shapes our towns, cities and countryside, our living standards and our health. It can shape all those things for good or for bad. Decarbonisation is not just some technocratic process. It’s about how we make sure that transport shapes quality of life and the economy in ways that are good.
“It’s not about stopping people doing things: it’s about doing the same things differently. We will still fly on holiday, but in more efficient aircraft, using sustainable fuel. We will still drive, but increasingly in zero emission cars.
“The Transport decarbonisation plan is just the start – we will need continued efforts and collaboration to deliver its ambitious commitments, which will ultimately create sustainable economic growth through healthier communities as we build back greener.”
Elizabeth de Jong, director of policy at Logistics UK, said: “The Transport decarbonisation plan will help to provide logistics businesses with confidence and clarity on the steps they must take on the pathway to net zero. Consultation on proposed phase out dates for new diesel HGVs should enable business to move forwards with confidence. Rail, shipping and aviation are all essential parts of logistics, so plans to support freight modal shift and develop technologies to reduce emissions across these modes are welcome.
“With logistics already embracing the need to decarbonise its operations, Logistics UK looks forward to working in partnership with the Government on future action and strategies to realise the net zero ambition together.”
The commitment comes as the Government publishes a green paper setting out the regulatory framework requiring vehicle manufacturers to improve the fuel efficiency of new cars, vans and HGVs, enabling the country to meet the ambitious phase out dates while creating new jobs for the automotive sector and delivering certainty for drivers. This includes consulting on the possible introduction of a new phased industry mandate for zero-emission vehicles.
The Government is also publishing a 2035 delivery plan, which brings together all of the measures for decarbonising cars and vans, from across Government, into a single document. It outlines the key timelines, milestones and how progress towards the commitment to deliver mass ownership of zero-emission cars and vans will be monitored.
This follows recent investments from car manufacturer Nissan to produce its new-generation electric vehicle in Sunderland, alongside Envision’s new Gigafactory, as well as Stellantis’s investment in Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port manufacturing plant to transform the site for a new era in electric vehicle manufacturing.
A ‘Jet zero consultation’ has also been announced, which commits the aviation sector to a net zero emissions target by 2050 and sets out an action plan for how it can be achieved – ensuring everyone can continue to fly for holidays, visits to family and business without contributing to climate change.
Reflecting the fact the UK aviation industry is already leading the way in seeking to reduce emissions from flights, the consultation proposes an earlier target for UK domestic aviation to reach net zero by 2040, as well as for all airport operations in England to be zero-emission by 2040.
Government has also brought forward the target date for the whole central Government fleet of 40,000 cars and vans to be fully zero-emission by 2027, three years earlier than previously planned.