Business leaders from transport, energy and infrastructure agreed that decarbonising transport is crucial to ensuring the UK meets its net-zero target at an online roundtable event that was put on by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).
The online Presidential Breakfast, saw Rachel Maclean MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (DfT), engage with business leaders and talk through the objectives and priorities of the upcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP).
Maclean, the Minister responsible for the TDP, talked through the Plan’s objectives and priorities with attendees.
The TDP aims to set out what government, business and society will need to do to deliver the significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction needed across all modes of transport, with the aim to put the UK on a pathway to achieving carbon budgets and net zero emissions across every single mode of transport by 2050.
Rachel Skinner, ICE President and chair of the discussion, said: “Transport is critical when thinking about decarbonisation and achieving net-zero, not just in the UK but across the world.
“There is no path to delivering net-zero by 2050 that doesn’t run through decarbonising transport, and in particular road transport, as the transport sector is now the UK’s largest source of carbon emissions. Significant reductions in carbon emissions need to start now.”
There was agreement among attendees that government and industry need to work closely together to achieve decarbonisation of the UK’s transport network. There was also a willingness to drive innovation and help support workers make greener journeys.
The discussion noted that in particular, the role of devolved English regions and Sub-National Transport Bodies (STB) will be key to driving this shift.
For this urgent collaboration to happen, there was agreement that government should ensure the TDP is holistic and assigns clear responsibilities, in order to go further and faster on pace and scale.
ICE believes that the goal of the TDP should be to deliver a low carbon transport and mobility system that encourages sustainable connectivity. It should also utilise existing networks, alongside new technologies and innovation to stimulate growth and address inequalities. Careful consideration will be needed to align physical with digital connectivity, both of which are needed if to enable the essential interaction of people and goods for the future.
ICE Fellow, Jonathan Spruce, gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee last month and highlighted that decarbonising the UK’s transport system – currently the largest carbon emissions source – is critical.