New Arup report highlights the immediate steps that local government in UK can take to decarbonise transport

Brad Ryan, Senior PR Coordinator Brad Ryan UKIMEA Press Office,London
24 April 2020

In the middle of the national Covid-19 pandemic, local government’s immediate priorities are rightly to minimise fatalities, provide relief to communities and deliver frontline services. However, as we look to the future, confronting climate change will be a key driver for the nation’s economic recovery and will remain of crucial importance as we navigate towards a new normal. 

The surface transport sector is the UK’s highest emitter of carbon emissions and the only sector pre Covid-19 where emissions were continuing to rise. Meeting the pledge for the UK to become overall net-zero implies the need for a fundamental shift in this sector from local and central government. 

This is according to a new report, You’ve declared a Climate Emergency… Next steps: Transport released today by Arup. 

While the attention of local authorities is of course focused elsewhere at present, decarbonising transport remains one of the great challenges of our time. This report helps those faced with developing local responses to the climate emergency to get on to the right trajectory. The ideas in this report have the potential to create significant change and build momentum towards decarbonising transport across the UK. ” Stephen Bennett Stephen Bennett Director

The path to a zero-carbon transport system will require national agreement on a coordinated long-term strategy for climate change, transport and the wider built environment. This process is now underway with the Department for Transport’s recent publication on Decarbonising Transport: Setting the Challenge and a national transport decarbonisation plan is due later this year.

However, the political complexities surrounding agreement on such a strategy could mean a lengthy timeline towards impactful action. In response, this report aims to highlight what local authorities can start to do now to make the urgently required headway. Particular focus has been given to deliverable and scalable measures that range from creating denser commercial zones and prioritising sustainable transport, to repurposing road space and networks – a step some local authorities are already considering due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Decarbonising transport in the UK Decarbonising transport in the UK
Supported by several case studies, these near-term actions seek to inform and build momentum towards a collective, robust, and comprehensive response to the climate emergency.

The zero-carbon agenda is not calling for an entirely new host of solutions – instead, it’s asking for a different decision-making framework to reprioritise known solutions. Experimentation and partnerships to find ways to provide people with better information or encourage them to try new ways to travel, and halting decisions today that contradict principles of sustainable planning, are steps that can be taken now to change choices and behaviour, and to start making progress towards zero-carbon. ” Ritu Garg Ritu Garg Senior Transport Planner