Transport decarbonisation could provide major boost to local economies

Transport decarbonisation could result in a multi-billion pound boost to local economies across the country, according to a new report.

The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) and Hitachi Energy’s report – Decarbonising Transport: Enabling local energy solutions’ – is an analysis of the energy requirements to deliver Net Zero transport systems in local areas across the UK.

The report uses Southampton and the Solent as a case study as it is one of few that includes national transport hubs across land, sea, and air. The Solent maritime sector currently contributes around £6 billion of GVA per annum, around 20% of the Solent economy. This could increase by £2 billion per annum through forecast shipping volume growth.

However, if progress is not made in transport decarbonisation, there is both a risk that this economic growth potential will be lost and that Net Zero targets will be missed. The report – launched today [Monday 23 May] at the Houses of Parliament – calls on the Government to deliver a consistent framework, guidance and resources to local areas so they can produce transport decarbonisation plans.

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive at the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), said: “In our drive to reach Net Zero, the decarbonisation of transport undoubtedly presents the greatest challenge. Over recent years, we have seen exponential growth in the sales of electric cars and vans, supported by a growing EV charging infrastructure network. By comparison, little progress has been made to decarbonise the “harder to reach” areas of the transport system: heavy road vehicles, shipping and aviation.

“Our report is based on a case study of Southampton and The Solent, as a location that features international transport hubs across land, sea and air. The report makes clear that, if decarbonisation is achieved across all of these modes of transport, local economies could see multi-billion pound benefits.

“However, this potential will only be realised if the Government delivers a consistent framework, guidance and resources to local areas so they can produce transport decarbonisation plans.”

Ian Funnell, CEO UK and Ireland, Hitachi Energy, added: “The transport sector’s pace of decarbonisation will be key to delivering the ambitious net zero goals and ultimately limit global temperature rise. The transition to a net zero transport system must happen in Southampton and in other port cities via an integrated and coordinated approach, considering the needs of all transport modes as well as the low carbon energy sources needed. I welcome the report and am particularly pleased that its recommendations include many tangible actions that can be taken forward immediately.”

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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