+44 (0) 20 3879 7879

Active travel remains a key focus of UK decarbonisation plans

Active travel remains a key focus of UK decarbonisation plans

The UK Government yesterday published a review of its Transport Decarbonisation Plan, one year on.

Decarbonising transport: one-year-on review.

The plan set out the UK’s ‘greenprint’ to create cleaner air, healthier communities and tens of thousands of new green jobs across the UK. The review reports that almost 7,500 extra electric vehicle charge-points have been installed, supporting 900,000 green vehicles that are on UK roads, and that more than 130 new walking and cycling schemes have been funded.

The government is launching public consultations on reaching zero emissions in motorbikes and mopeds by 2035, and wants walking and cycling to become the first choice for shorter journeys.

In its recent second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, it set out estimated investment of almost £4 billion into active travel across the government until 2025, including the £2 billion announced for active travel in 2020.

In its one-year review, the government highlights some of the activity around active and sustainable travel over the last 12 months…

  • Active Travel England (ATE) launched, with Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman as commissioner.
  • More than £200m announced for new cycling and walking schemes across England.
  • The second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy published.
  • Nearly 2,000 new zero emission buses funded.
  • Consulted on setting an end date for the sale of new, non-zero emission buses.
  • Uplift in the Bus Service Operators Grant.
  • Announced indicative funding for 31 areas in England outside London to deliver local bus service improvements and encourage passengers onto buses.
  • Published the £96bn Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands.
  • £2.15m funding to support a fast-charging trial for battery-only trains on the Greenford branch line.
  • Introduced the HS2 Phase 2b Bill.

…and what it plans to do next:

  • Develop long term funding plans for cycling and walking infrastructure and behaviour change programmes up to 2025.
  • Continue establishing Active Travel England to deliver its inspection and planning system functions.
  • Set an end date for the sale of new, non-zero emission buses and expectation for when the entire fleet should be zero emission.
  • Provide a further £200m funding for zero emission buses over the Spending Review period.
  • Work with Local Transport Authorities to deliver bus priority lanes, more frequent services and cheaper, simpler fares.
  • Develop the rail decarbonisation programme with the Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT).

Helena Bennett, head of climate policy at Green Alliance, said:

The Transport Decarbonisation Plan laid ambitious foundations for the sector to begin its transition to net zero after 30 years in which emissions have stayed largely unchanged.

It’s promising to see delivery of some of the plan’s goals begin including announcements on a zero emission vehicle mandate and phase out of polluting HGVs, but there is more to be done to keep the sector on track with climate targets, and it’s more important than ever, given the cost of living crisis, that boosts to public transport and walk and cycling infrastructure are prioritised.

National Active Travel Commissioner, Chris Boardman, said:

If we want to enable millions more people to walk, wheel and cycle for everyday journeys, we need to make the environment feel safe and attractive. Funding and supporting local authorities to achieve that is what Active Travel England will focus on – making local trips easier for everyone to make without having to drive.

I’m looking forward to working with councils and other partners to turn this national vision into a reality. Together we can build a pleasant and sustainable future.

The government’s aim for active transport modes to be the first choice for shorter journeys follows its vision for half of journeys in towns and cities being cycled or walked by 2030, which it set out in Gear Change in 2020.

BetterPoints behaviour change programmes get people more physically active and travelling more sustainably. Ask us for a demo today.