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Emissions reductions 'need to start being delivered', DfT says as it outlines decarbonisation priorities

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

The government has outlined its priorities for its Transport Decarbonisation Plan, slated for publication in Autumn 2020.

The Creating the Transport Decarbonisation Plan document, published yesterday (26 March), sets out the steps the Department for Transport (DfT) is taking to develop the plan, as well as confirming its intention to work with industry and communities for this development.

It is to work closely with the transport sector in the coming months to put together a “comprehensive plan of actions”, with an interest in how the sector is decarbonised, how it can support supply chains, the public and businesses that rely on it.

A series of workshops are also to be held with stakeholders and representative groups to generate and test policy proposals.

The document sets out the six priorities for the Transport Decarbonisation Plan to deliver a vision of a new zero transport system:

  • Accelerating modal shift to public and active transport
  • Decarbonisation of road vehicles
  • Decarbonising how we get our goods
  • Place based solutions
  • UK as a hub for green transport technology and innovation
  • Reducing carbon in a global economy

Under the decarbonisation of road vehicles heading, it outlined it would be looking to support the transition to zero emission road vehicles through a regulatory framework, a strong consumer base, market conditions, vehicle supply, refuelling and recharging infrastructure and energy system readiness.

It also outlined plans to conclude the consultation on bringing the phase-out date of petrol and diesel cars to 2035 in summer 2020, as well as its intention of publishing its consultations on charge points in new homes and smart requirements for private charge points, which have concluded.

The DfT is also to publish a vision for a core network of rapid/high powered charge points (HPC) along England’s key network of roads in Spring 2020.

The document also pointed towards previously-announced government measures, including the £500 million for EV charging infrastructure first announced in the Conservative manifesto and reiterated in the 2020 Budget, as well as the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF).

The first £70 million tranche of the CIIF – with £35 million provided by Masdar and £35 million by the government – is to create 3,000 new rapid charge points across the UK by 2024.

Government grant funding has, it said, supported the installation of over 120,000 domestic charge points today, with the value of the Onstreet Residential Charging Scheme value doubled in January 2020.

The DfT is also working with the industry to ensure charge point data is freely available so that software developers can create the tools drivers need to easily locate and access available charge points.

“Government has powers in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 to facilitate this and is prepared to intervene to ensure a good deal for consumers if the market is too slow to deliver improvements across the entire network,” the document states.

Decarbonising transport is a “significant and sustained challenge”, with transport emissions constituting 28% of UK domestic emissions in 2018. Transport emissions are 4% higher than in 2013, and only 3% lower than in 1990.

However, in 2019 the UK was the third largest maker of ultra low emissions vehicles, with over 240,000 battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles registered in the UK, the document states.

Battery prices – a large part of the cost of EVs – have fall almost 80% since 2010, although this has been largely offset by an increase in the battery sizes in order to increase range.

Finally, the document acknowledges that to meet the interim carbon budgets and net zero, “we will need to go further than the existing plans” in place.

“This is not optional; there is no plausible path to net zero without major transport emissions reductions, reductions that need to start being delivered soon.”

Writing in the foreword, transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Success will require the sector, and its users, to embrace new technology and innovation like never before. We believe the transport sector is ready to step up and meet those challenges.”

The full document can be read here, and any views can be shared as well as interest in workshops by emailing TDP@dft.gov.uk.

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