Decarbonising transport

We have an ambition to achieve net-zero carbon emissions from transport by 2040, a decade ahead of the legal requirement

Our current pattern of travel and consumption of resources is not compatible with delivering net-zero carbon emissions. The scale of planned growth increases the need for a step-change in our approach, as does the desire across the Heartland to achieve net-zero earlier than the legal requirement of 2050.

We will work with the business community to harness the Heartland’s region’s world-leading experience in clean, green and smart technology to enable solutions that deliver the decarbonisation of our transport system.

We will do this by prioritising investment not just on the basis of value for money, but for its contribution towards achieving net-zero, as well as wider sustainability and environmental goals.

The focus provided by the four Grand Challenges in the Government’s Industrial Strategy will be used to maximise the opportunity for innovation-led solutions and businesses to support sustainable growth and provide the UK economy with a competitive edge in global markets.

And we will harness the region’s capacity to use ‘living laboratories’ at scale as the means of developing, trialling and subsequently adopting solutions that provide the user with choice, secures modal shift, and which create green economic opportunities in their own right.

What we're doing

Pathways to Decarbonisation

In 2020 England's Economic Heartland commissioned a Oxford and Southampton universities to use advanced modelling to show how the region could achieve a net zero carbon transport system by 2050.

The study (Pathways to Decarbonisation) assumed a transition to 100% zero-emissions cars, light goods vehicles (LGVs), heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs, for example buses and coaches) by 2050. In addition, the work allowed EEH to identify the following pathways to decarbonisation:

i) A highly connected future, one that enables our transport system to provide better transport information to the user, better management of the transport network, and the rapid deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles. This pathway will build on a step change in the provision of digital access and services to the home – allowing for a significant increase in home working and a significant change in travel patterns

ii) A policy-led behavioural shift by which decision makers at all levels agree to deploy policy levers specifically designed to reduce the number of car trips. This will require the application of measures designed to reduce the need to travel. In parallel, it requires a commitment to ensure local communities have real choice in the way they travel – with bus, rail and active travel options being attractive and viable alternatives to the private car.

By primarily reducing the need to travel, focusing on modal shift and supporting the deployment of mass rapid transit and active travel, it highlights an affordable alternative to traditional, large-scale road projects that take many years to plan, fund and deliver.

Decarbonisation Roadmap

Through discussions of the Strategic Transport Forum and consultation feedback, the Transport Strategy includes an ambition to reach net-zero emissions by 2040.

To achieve zero carbon on the EEH transport system in that timeframe is ambitious, not least because of the volume of freight that passes through the region. In adopting this, there will be implications for the decisions and investment priorities that we make. EEH will work with transport officers from across the region to ensure all implications of our decisions are well considered.

In addition the Transport Strategy commits EEH to the development of a decarbonisation road map. EEH will develop the decarbonisation road map as part of its 2021/22 work programme - work will follow publication of the Department for Transport's Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

Recent consultation responses

Decarbonising Transport - Setting the Challenge response September 2020.pdf

Recent news/ blogs

‘Go harder and faster on decarbonisation’, consultation tells England’s Economic Heartland

Universities collaboration signposts pathways to decarbonisation

BLOG: Why we've chosen two pathways to decarbonisation

BLOG: DfT’s decarbonisation strategy takes welcome first step

Recent Forum papers

Agenda Item 6 EV and Road Pricing response 05022021.pdf

Agenda Item 4 Decarbonisation 271120.pdf

Pathways to Decarbonisation June 2020