Fleet News

Tougher policies needed to decarbonise transport by 2050

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Four in five (80%) believe that the decarbonisation of UK road transport by 2050 is possible, but two thirds (66%) say that current Government policies are not enough, a new Zemo Partnership survey suggests.

Delegates at the Zemo Partnership’s annual conference also said that, while the electrification of road transport is an important component of the transition, there needs to be more focus on behavioural measures to achieve the goal.   

Around 58% of respondents said that behaviour change will deliver as much, or greater, carbon reductions than technology, while 42% said we need to focus equally on technology shift/behaviour change while 16% said behaviour change has the greater potential.

Speaking at the Zemo Partnership Conference, transport minister Rachel Maclean said: “COP26 will be a crucial moment to test our global commitment to fight rising temperatures and prevent irreversible damage to our planet. In the UK, nothing short of a green industrial revolution will do.”

The Government published its transport decarbonisation plan last week, which includes proposals to only allow the sale of zero-emission new heavy vans and trucks and electrifying the Government fleet.

Ministers are proposing new vehicles weighing from 3.5 to 26 tonnes must be zero emission from 2035 and from 2040 for vehicles weighing more than 26 tonnes.

It has previously said that it will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, with hybrids banned from 2035.

Maclean described the transport decarbonisation plan as “rightly ambitious but achievable”.

Interim findings from the Zemo Partnership survey suggested that more than 70% of respondents think the 2030/5 phase-out dates for the sale of new cars and vans are realistic, while 17% had already made the switch and 53% feel the timing is 'about right'.

Furthermore, two-thirds (66%) think that there will be cost effective zero emission technologies available to allow the delivery of goods by 2040. However, a significant minority (30%) think it will be 2050 – or even later – before such technologies are available.

Zemo Partnership’s chief executive, Andy Eastlake, announcing details of the organisation’s ‘acceleration programme’ said: “Our privileged position - bridging government and the widest range of members together - will enable us to work the detail of many of the 78 commitments seen in the transport decarbonisation plan.

“Across all road vehicles and fuels our members have committed to drive progress to zero emissions. Our new acceleration programme of key projects and new initiatives embraces the much wider range of stakeholders needed and their appetite to accelerate the pace of change, not only in terms of technology, but of energy, infrastructure, information and behaviour. We aim to deliver this using hard evidence, clear targets and widespread engagement.

“As transport, technology and systems converge, so does our need to think differently. Operating in our traditional, closed silos is no longer enough.

 “The TDP (transport decarbonisation plan) has set the finish line and fired the starting gun. We are now all in a race against the climate change clock in which no one can get left behind.”

Read more about Government plans to decarbonise transport in the July edition of Fleet News.

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