The regional decarbonisation strategy – which is the first of its kind – outlines a commitment from the North of England to achieve near-zero carbon emissions from surface transport by 2045.
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A Transport Decarbonisation Strategy for the North of England – which outlines the ambitious target of near-zero carbon emissions from surface transport by 2045 – was launched on 8 December 2021 by Transport for the North (TfN).
The publication of the strategy marks the first time that a regional strategy of this type has been produced, bringing together the region’s leaders to speak out with one voice on the climate emergency and how the transport sector must act to address the challenge. It highlights the ambitions of the North of England in tackling carbon emissions, with the region aiming to go beyond national policy and targets, with a clear plan for making progress as quickly as possible.
The strategy also demonstrates the importance of achieving a fair transition for all of the North’s communities – maximising clean growth opportunities; the need to ensure that decarbonisation is at the heart of transport-related policy and investment decisions; and how action at a regional level can help the North achieve its collective ambitions.
The strategy was approved by the TfN Board on 24 November 2021, where Board Members – the region’s political and business leaders – welcomed the detail and depth of work, highlighting important elements such as the need for modal shift; the transition to alternative fuels and delivery of adequate charging infrastructure; and the decarbonisation of freight, and noted the effectiveness of collaborative working on a challenge such as decarbonising transport.
Four priority activities have been agreed following the consultation on the strategy over summer. These cover rail electrification; improving public transport, including Northern Powerhouse Rail; developing a zero-emission vehicle charging infrastructure framework; and developing a regional route map for transport decarbonisation.
The wider action plan within the strategy covers:
- Encouraging modal shift towards more sustainable ways of travelling, such as public transport and active travel
- Zero emission vehicles, including cars, HGVs and buses, with a comprehensive network of charging facilities to support their wider use
- The decarbonisation of the rail network through electrification
- The use of hydrogen and alternative fuel vehicles
- Opportunities for decarbonisation in the freight industry
- Reducing the embodied carbon within new transport infrastructure development
- The strategy also utilises TfN’s four Future Travel Scenarios to ensure that it is future-proofed for a diverse range of possible scenarios.
Martin Tugwell, Chief Executive at Transport for the North, said: “Tackling the climate emergency is a critical challenge, and the North of England has an important role to play. As outlined in our Transport Decarbonisation Strategy and highlighted by our Members, we believe that our region can, and must, take clear and comprehensive action to decarbonise surface transport over the coming years. Our regional strategy shows how the North of England can lead the UK in decarbonising our transport system, and we will now take forward those activities at pace and ensure that decarbonisation goals underpin all of our work. This will embed sustainability within all transport projects and improvements, helping us to build a greener North of England. Through this regional strategy, we demonstrate the real power of TfN’s Members speaking with one voice and putting action behind our words. Together, we have set ourselves an ambitious challenge, and it is one that we are all fully behind and will work towards as a region with passion and determination.”
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