Climate change is the most pressing environmental challenge of our time. Taking action is a clear priority for the Government. In June 2019 the UK government passed a law that requires them to achieve 'net zero' greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. Transport has a huge role to play in the economy reaching net zero. The scale of the challenge demands a step change in both the breadth and scale of ambition and as a country we have a duty to act quickly and decisively to reduce emissions.
The Department for Transport is currently developing a decarbonisation strategy for the transport sector. This is to be published in spring 2021. In its paper Decarbonising transport: setting the challenge it states that current plans and policies will not achieve the reduction in emissions that is needed if transport is to play its part in contributing to our legal obligation to “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050. One particular cause for concern is the large-scale road-building programme.
Road transport is the largest emitter of GHG. Cars contributed 55% of domestic transport emissions (68MtCO2e) in 2018. Rail on the other hand is a relatively low-carbon form of transport, and is one of the most efficient ways of moving high volumes of people into city centres and moving people over long distances. In 2018, GHG emissions from rail (passenger and freight) made up just 1.4% of the UK's domestic transport emissions, while 10% of passenger miles travelled in Great Britain were by rail. The railway is becoming less carbon intensive as new trains come into service and the railway uses greener electricity.
The first presentation is a paper by Lynn Sloman and Lisa Hopkinson which uses carbon data reported by Highways England to make, for the first time, a programme-level estimate of the likely carbon impact of the government’s second Road Investment Strategy, RIS2. In our second presentation, Stephen Hart, Lead Strategic Planner from Network Rail, will talk about the role of rail in supporting decarbonisation of the UK economy and what rail is doing to achieve the legislative decarbonisation targets.
In our discussion we will be asking presenters and panellists how difficult it is to reduce carbon in transport and what each industry (highways and railways) could do to help achieve the targets the UK government committed to.
The conversation will be framed with the following questions:
- How can we accelerate decarbonisation of the transport network to achieve the 2030 target?
- What is the carbon impact of the government’s proposed roads programme and how does this align with its climate change commitments?
- How do we properly account for carbon impacts of road schemes in transport planning assessments?
- How could we re-purpose roads funding to address the COVID-19 and climate emergencies?- What is the role for rail in decarbonisation of the transport sector?
- How can rail reduce its carbon emissions further and faster?
Event Chair: Stephen Bennett - Director, Arup and Chair, TPS
Lynn Sloman – Director, Transport for Quality of Life
Steven Hart - Lead Strategic Planner, Network Rai
Lisa Hopkinson – Associate, Transport for Quality of Life
Julian Worth – Chair, CILT(UK) Rail Freight Group
About this event:
This event is jointly hosted by CILT(UK) and the Transport Planning Society (TPS). Organised by PTRC Education and Research Services.
TPS is a society to facilitate, develop and promote best practice and innovation in transport planning and provide a focus for dialogue between all those engaged in it whatever their background. More information about TPS is on our website at www.tps.org.uk
CILT(UK) is the leading membership body for professionals involved in the movement of goods and people, and their associated supply chains. Delivering career development, relevant information, networking and professional recognition.