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Transport: Low-carbon

Volume 712: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2009


I am announcing today the publication of Low Carbon Transport: A Greener Future (Cm 7682)—a carbon reduction strategy for transport. A key component of the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, also published later today, this document sets out the actions we are taking to deliver reductions in transport emissions in line with our obligations under the UK’s carbon budgets to 2022.

It puts us on a path towards a low carbon transport system, giving people and business more low carbon choices about when, where and how to travel or to transport goods.

We have already begun—and will continue—a strong programme of activity to tackle the climate change impact of transport.

In December 2008, we agreed a demanding framework with our European partners for reducing CO2 emissions from new cars. This alone is expected to save 7 million tonnes of CO2 in the UK in 2020. In January 2009, alongside our Statement on Britain’s transport infrastructure, we set a pioneering target to reduce CO2 emissions from UK aviation to below 2005 levels by 2050, in so doing, posing a challenge to the aviation industry to innovate and adopt better fuel efficiency. We have also made securing international agreement to reducing CO2 emissions from aviation and shipping a key priority for the UN talks in Copenhagen at the end of this year.

In April, we made clear our intent to create a flourishing market for ultra-low emissions vehicles in the UK for both consumers and industry. This will be achieved through a combination of support for research and development, and a £250 million fund for consumer incentives and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In May we announced that up to £29 million was available for large urban areas across England to bid to become the country’s first sustainable travel city.

In June and July, we announced a range of measures to promote new, greener technology on our roads. Up to 150 low emission and all-electric vans will be introduced to public sector fleets; over 340 ultra-low emissions cars are to be demonstrated around the UK through a £25 million programme delivered by the Technology Strategy Board; and we launched a £30 million scheme to encourage uptake of low emission buses. And on top of our existing commitment of £140 million to support cycling, to improve the integration of greener travel modes, we also announced plans to radically improve station cycle storage at up to 10 major railway stations nationwide.

Alongside today’s document, we confirm our commitment to working with our European partners to develop an ambitious and realistic mechanism to reduce CO2 emissions from new vans. With the freight and logistics industry, we have also launched a working group to develop a consistent carbon measurement and reporting method and standard for the logistics transport supply chain.

Our efforts will not stop here. In the coming weeks we will emphasise the importance of addressing CO2 from transport in the guidance we give to our local and regional partners as they begin to develop new local transport plans and longer-term transport solutions. Finally, we are shortly to announce our plans for further electrification of the rail network.

The measures set out in strategy will save an additional 85 millions tonnes of CO2 over the third carbon budget period from 2018-22. This strategy is a signal of our determination to build a low-carbon future.