Transport Decarbonisation Plan provides ‘greenprint’ to cutting emissions
The Government has published its Transport Decarbonisation Plan, setting out plans to electrify the entire government car and van fleet and stop sales of fossil-fuelled HGVs.
The long-awaited plan, originally due at the end of 2020, provides a first-ever pathway for the whole transport sector to reach the legal requirement of net zero by 2050 and has been published just months before the COP26 climate summit.
A major part of the plans is the commitment to phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol HGVs by 2040, subject to consultation. The plan is for sales of smaller diesel trucks to be banned from 2035 and larger ones by 2040.
This joins the existing 2035 phase-out date for polluting cars and vans and means that all polluting road vehicles will start to be phased out within the next two decades.
This is being backed by the publication today of a 2035 delivery plan, which brings together all of the measures for decarbonising cars and vans, from across government, into a single document, including key timelines and milestones.
The Government has also brought forward the target date for the whole central government fleet of 40,000 cars and vans to be fully zero emission by 2027, three years earlier than previously planned.
The plans also tackle electric vehicle supply through a public consultation on a zero emissions vehicles mandate. This would require vehicle makers to progressively increase sales of battery electric or hydrogen cars and vans until 2035 – something that has been flagged as essential for decarbonisation by organisations and groups including both the UK Electric Fleets Coalition and the Climate Change Committee in the last month.
And it’s published its response to the electric vehicle smart charging consultation, committing to laying legislation later this year to ensure that all new private EV charge points meet smart charging standards, saving consumers money on their energy bills while also helping to support the grid.
The proposal also intends to reduce vehicle use, particularly in cities, and improve public transport and increase support for active travel to make them the natural first choice for all who can take them – creating a net zero rail network by 2050, ensuring net zero domestic aviation emissions by 2040 and leading the transition to green shipping.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Transport is not just how you get around. It is something that fundamentally shapes our towns, cities and countryside, our living standards and our health. It can shape all those things for good or for bad. Decarbonisation is not just some technocratic process. It’s about how we make sure that transport shapes quality of life and the economy in ways that are good.
“It’s not about stopping people doing things: it’s about doing the same things differently. We will still fly on holiday, but in more efficient aircraft, using sustainable fuel. We will still drive, but increasingly in zero emission cars.
“The Transport decarbonisation plan is just the start – we will need continued efforts and collaboration to deliver its ambitious commitments, which will ultimately create sustainable economic growth through healthier communities as we build back greener.”
The BVRLA welcomed the plans, which chief executive Gerry Keaney said provide “a clearer picture of where we are and where we need to get to on the road to net zero”.
He added: “The ambitious timescales involved in the phase-outs for the sale of polluting cars, vans and trucks leave little room for error. It is vital that the policymakers continue to engage with a wide cross-section of road users to understand the risks, challenges and opportunities that are being thrown up by this swift transition.”
But Keaney said there are still major questions that need answering, including what longer-term plans the Government has for motoring taxation.
He also noted the vital role that will be played BVRLA members in enabling millions of individuals and businesses to embrace zero-emission road transport.
“There will be many important milestones along the way and we will continue to work with government and other stakeholders in achieving them,” added Keaney.