The UK Government has announced measures working towards decarbonised transport to reduce pollution and make Britain greener.
According to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, the Transport Decarbonisation Plan will create “cleaner, quieter cities and communities,” improving quality of life and the movement of goods.
The government stated that its ‘greenprint’ plan will “cut emissions from our seas and skies, roads and railways,” and set out a “credible pathway” for Britain’s entire transport sector to reach net zero by 2050.
Smart electric vehicle charging also forms part of the plans, which could help to boost electric vehicle sales and reduce pollution on the roads. The government says it is also committed to switching its own fleet of cars to electric models by 2027.
The plan suggests a “phase-out” of 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.
In a statement, Shapps said that the move to cleaner transport will “create and support” highly skilled jobs, including in Scotland, 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.
“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,” he said.
“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,” Shapps added.
Billions of pounds have already been put towards green projects in the UK, including £2 billion in cycling and walking projects and £2.8 billion to support industry and motorists to “make the switch” to cleaner vehicles.
Shapps continued: “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.”
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Additionally, the greenrprint plan explains how the government will improve public transport and “increase support” – creating a net-zero rail network by 2050, ensuring net zero domestic aviation emissions by 2040 and leading the transition to green shipping.
Greg Archer, UK Director of the Europe-wide green transport campaign group Transport & Environment, said: “This plan is a milestone in the shift to a more sustainable UK transport system.
“The decision to only use zero-emission road vehicles – including trucks – by 2050 is world-leading and will significantly reduce Britain’s climate impact and improve the air we breathe.
“This complements the goal of net zero internal UK flights by 2040, although there is much more to do to tackle international aviation emissions.
He added: “To ensure the UK meets its climate targets, the government will need to convert its raft of new proposals into measures that rapidly change how people and goods move.
“More difficult decisions to reduce vehicle-use and flying and reallocate spending towards green transport options will be needed, but this plan signifies a commendable and substantial shift in the right direction.”
The new plan will complement similar projects announced in Scotland, with the hope of moving transport across the country towards a greener future.
One million pounds in funding was announced by Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson in January to stimulate innovation in public transport tech solutions.
The Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Investment Fund, aims to support Scotland’s green recovery and make public transport more efficient and easier to use.
Additionally, Edinburgh Council, which relies heavily on its public transport system, announced a ten-year plan in February to deliver a net-zero carbon transport system for Scotland’s capital.
Measures in the plan include “encouraging a change in public behaviour” towards the use of sustainable transport, the expansion of the tram and ‘mass rapid transit’ network, bus route improvements, ‘mobility hubs’ in existing communities and traffic monitoring.