Government announces plan to push EV uptake, reduce car use

Upcoming transport decarbonisation plan has a big impact on British motorists

The UK government has set targets to accelerate the uptake of zero-emission vehicles and move people out of the car by making public transport, cycling or walking the "first natural choice" for travel. It also strives to match the European Union with a strong navy SO2 target emissions.

The steps to be taken to achieve these goals will be outlined in a new transport decarbonization plan to be published at the Environment Summit in November. This plan will be a key part of the government's goal of achieving zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

The Department of Transportation (DFT) recently published an official document entitled setting a challenge that outlines “where we are today and the amount of emission reduction needed”. It does not set out specific strategies to be developed through public consultations and workshops, but outlines "strategic priorities". These include:

Making public transport and active transport (like cycling and walking) “a natural first choice for our daily activities” so that people use their cars less. This will require public transport to reduce emissions and make it convenient and cost effective, plus the development of mobility as a service platform.

Decarbonization of road vehicles, with a focus on "providing a favorable regulatory framework" and "home [consumers] confidence in new technologies."

By making the UK “the world leader in green transport technology and innovation” stimulating investment in research and development of new technologies.

Westminster is already aiming to ban the sale of all electric vehicles by 2035 or even sooner, with the goal of "putting the UK at the forefront of designing and manufacturing zero-emission vehicles".

The TFP publication claims that transport is now the biggest contributor to the UK's greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 28% of the total. Passenger cars were responsible for 55% of domestic transport GHG emissions, although total GHG production for such vehicles has declined by 5% since 1990, despite a 22% increase in total miles travelled.

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However, the report also notes that the average level of CO2 emissions per mile of new passenger cars has increased since 2016. While acknowledging the sharp decline in diesel sales plays a role in this, he cites skyrocketing sales of SUVs as the main reason.

The report's authors point out that sales of ultra-low-emission vehicles - which includes electric cars - have increased tremendously in recent years, from around 1300 in 2010 to over 230 today.

He added that it would be required for continued growth, given that 20-30% of British motorists do not have access to off-street parking, where private chargers could be located over EV charging infrastructure. It also calls for "roaming" which will allow EV drivers to access any public charger through a single payment method.

Establishing a task document and outlining measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from freight transport, public transport, air travel and sea travel.

The publication is the first step in a planned seven-month process that will lead to the publication of the transport decarbonization plan in November. That will include a series planned to publish feedback opportunities starting later this year. The full text of the document can be read on the TFP website. here.


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