Chris Ames 13 July 2022

City region decarbonisation 'lacks cohesion'

City region decarbonisation lacks cohesion image
Image: J M Ritchie /

A more cohesive approach to accelerating the uptake of zero emission vehicles across the UK’s city regions is vital if decarbonisation targets are to be achieved, a new report argues.

The report, commissioned by the Urban Transport Group (UTG) and Connected Places Catapult and prepared by Arup, suggests that a fragmented approach to decarbonising urban vehicle fleets is putting city-wide and national targets at risk.

The transport sector is the single biggest contributor to UK greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for 27% of emissions, with 91% of this from road transport.

As well as the UK national target of net zero emissions by 2050, city regions have their own net zero target dates, which range from 2030 to 2048.

The report sets out the challenges they face in decarbonising urban vehicles, which includes private vehicles as well as public sector fleets, and also the opportunities to make progress.

The challenges range from staffing capacity at local authorities, a lack of cohesive national policy and the absence of strategic and co-ordinated funding, whilst opportunities arise from further devolution, innovation and infrastructure design.

UTG chair Laura Shoaf, who is chief executive at West Midlands Combined Authority, said: ‘Alongside promoting modal shift we are investing heavily in supporting the decarbonisation of the vehicles on our streets but we know we will need go faster and further if we are to meet our ambitious net zero targets.

‘This report sets out in detail how best this can be achieved. But in essence, we need more resource locally, given the scale of the task; we need to look at all vehicle types and the supporting energy infrastructure together and the city regions need a seat at the top table when the key decisions are being made.’

Alex Cousins, business director - devolved government (interim) at Connected Places Catapult, said: ‘Current approaches to making urban transport greener are fragmented. Beyond public sector fleets under their direct control, local authorities face the challenge of encouraging and incentivising communities to ditch the fossil fuel car addiction and opt for sustainable alternatives.’

The report also sets out a roadmap detailing how the journey to net zero by 2050 is achieved through each of the six themes.

It draws on interviews with officers from UTG’s member transport authorities, workshops conducted by Connected Places Catapult and an online survey with external stakeholders.

This article first appeared on Transport Network.

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