Transport Decarbonization Plan: The UK Government Releases Their Yearly Review3 min read
A lot can happen in a year. In July 2021, the UK government published the Transport Decarbonization Plan – a mission to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. TDP is a commitment to decarbonizing UK’s domestic transportation, including road, rail, flights, and shipping.
As the TDP hits its one-year mark, the UK government has published a review highlighting its achievements so far. Here’s an overview:
Transport Decarbonization Plan review: the past year
For the UK domestic transportation sector, the last year has been a period of development, plans, and policies to achieve a cleaner and healthier future. Here are the major highlights of the TDP plan-
The benefits of walking and cycling go beyond zero carbon emissions – reduced congestion, less noise pollution, and enhanced health and well-being. In light of this, the government has initiated a £200 million walking and cycling investment strategy to support new footways, pedestrian crossings, cycle lanes, and a national cycle network.
Even though 2020 saw a dramatic fall in transport emissions during the pandemic, road transport remains the highest contributor to carbon emissions. Cars and taxis are responsible for 52% of emissions, followed by heavy goods vehicles (19%) and light duty vehicles (16%).
As a result, the past year focused on encouraging zero-emission buses and electric vehicles on the road. Along with increased support of £2.5 billion for EV adoption, the government also announced grants for £300 million to boost the sale of plug-in trucks, motorcycles, vans, and more. Electric vehicles are now a significant part of the new car market (with every 1 in 6 cars sold in 2021 being electric), and the ZEV (zero emission vehicle) mandate will only boost the numbers.
As rail produces less than a quarter as much carbon emissions per person as driving, the railway is a critical part of the government’s decarbonizing transport plan. Over the last year, the government has worked on electrifying the railway lines under the £96 billion Integrated Rail Plan.
Fast charging trials are underway for battery-only trains to encourage a greener and more sustainable form of transport for people.
A major hindrance to mass EV adoption is the lack of supporting infrastructure. To accelerate the transition to EVs, the UK changed its building regulations to mandate charging point infrastructure in new residential and commercial buildings, working with authorities to fund new EV charge points in localities.
Further, the government also aims to regulate public charging with easy payments and accessible design for an enhanced consumer experience in the next year.
Amongst its other zero-emission policies and initiatives, the UK government also launched the Jet Zero strategy to decarbonize the aviation sector. Starting with £3 million in funding for research and development of zero-emission flight infrastructure, the aviation sector aims to reduce greenhouse emissions and achieve net zero on domestic flights and airport operations by 2050.
To Sum Up
The UK government’s first few steps towards the Transport Decarbonization Plan will not only help reduce emissions but also make the UK the hub for green transport innovation. Starting with EV adoption, green buses, and battery-only trains, the UK is on its way to reaping the economic and social benefits of better health, enhanced air quality, and robust infrastructure.Also Read: Govt. Plans to Introduce 300,000 New EV Charging Stations in the UK
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