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Decarbonising transport is an ambition and a challenge for many regions and local areas. The ambition comes from national and regional policies, the desire to act on climate change and to take advantage of the economic progress that can flow from these activities. The challenge lies in managing the sometimes-competing policy demands and funding priorities within economic cycles.
Currently transport accounts for the largest share of carbon emissions in the UK and as such all sectors are dependent on the speed at which we decarbonise our approach to mobility. With this mighty task at hand, we’re supporting Transport for the North (TfN) in identifying how to ensure clean growth opportunities in the region, whilst contemplating the various policy hurdles.
TfN’s vision is to provide a thriving North of England where world class transport supports sustainable economic growth, excellent quality of life and improved opportunities for all. Investment in pan-northern strategic transport improvements will increase productivity, create jobs, and enhance the overall impact of the Northern Powerhouse on the UK economy. A key challenge is to facilitate this growth in a sustainable and equitable manner.
That’s why the organisation is developing a Decarbonisation Strategy to set out a pan-northern trajectory to achieve an accelerated path to net-zero. But it’s not a straightforward task when there is no centralised or consistent approach for developing and storing information on the multiple regions and LEPs that make up the North, as well as the multiple national policies that influence them. We’re bringing clarity to this process and supporting the strategy by working on a ‘gap analysis’ to identify the key actions that TfN can take to ensure the clean growth benefits of rapid transport sector decarbonisation are well understood and support the acceleration of the transition.
We’re looking at clean growth opportunities to develop recommendations and actions that will support TfN’s decarbonisation agenda including low emission vehicles, hydrogen, freight transport logistical improvements, rail decarbonisation, a shift to active travel and better public transport. This will be achieved by working with key stakeholders including Highways England, Network Rail and HS2.
Any new decarbonisation strategy needs to be able to draw on knowledge and understanding of not only current policy but also incorporate the ability to look ahead and assess the trends, globally, nationally and locally which will drive tomorrow’s policy and funding opportunities. With our research and development of the gap analysis, TfN have clear action points that they can now take forward as recommendations to central government with clarity and have confidence in the knowledge that these clean growth strategies have identified the right gaps through our outside in approach and are future-proofed.