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North of England Decarbonisation Strategy opens for public consultation

The first ever Decarbonisation Strategy to cover the North of England, setting out ambitious 2045 near-zero carbon emissions targets for surface transport, has been opened up for public consultation.

Prepared by Transport for the North (TfN), people and businesses from across the North are being encouraged to have their say on the plan, with the consultation open until 12:00 on August 31, 2021.

The strategy sets out the need for a regional near-zero carbon surface transport network must be achieved, in order to help the North support wider climate change initiatives.

It is the first time a regional strategy of this kind has been produced, bringing together leaders from across the region to put a collective Northern voice to the climate emergency.

The carbon emissions targets set out in the strategy intend to go beyond those of the wider UK 2050 national policy, intending to meet these targets five years earlier too.

Maximising clean growth opportunities, the need to ensure decarbonisation sits at the heart of transport-related policy and investment decisions and the importance of regional coordination are all highlighted in the report.

Within the strategy, a number of potential actions and focus areas are identified, including:

  • Zero emission vehicles, including cars, HGVs and buses, with a comprehensive network of charging facilities to support their wider use
  • The decarbonisation of the rail network through electrification
  • The use of hydrogen and alternative fuel vehicles
  • Encouraging modal shift towards more sustainable ways of travelling, such as public transport and active travel
  • Opportunities for decarbonisation in the freight industry
  • Carbon reduction when projects are built, as well as carbon capture
  • How Transport for the North’s four Future Travel Scenarios could present challenges and opportunities for decarbonising transport

Following the public consultation on the regional strategy, the finalised Decarbonisation Strategy will be adopted by the TfN board this autumn and submitted to the Government as statutory advice on behalf of the region.

This will help to inform the blueprint for regional green transport investment in the coming decades.

Tim Wood, Interim Chief Executive at Transport for the North, said: “Reducing carbon across our region’s transport network is an essential part of tackling the climate emergency – one of the greatest challenges of our time.

“We’re thrilled to be consulting a strategy for the whole region that outlines how rapid progress can be made and how the North can lead the UK in slashing carbon emissions.

“Surface transport is the largest contributing sector to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, accounting for 22% of all emissions in 2019. The majority of this is from road transport, so there is a clear and urgent need to decarbonise our vehicles and roads over the coming years. But we must also take action on our rail network, with a rolling programme of electrification, and encourage a shift to more sustainable forms of transport and construction practices too.

“Our Decarbonisation Strategy is a vital piece of work in moving the North of England towards the ambitious goal of near-zero carbon emissions from surface transport by 2045.

“Using data and insights, alongside predictions and modelling analysis, the strategy sets out the challenges and opportunities ahead, providing a clear trajectory that will not only lower emissions, but also enhance connectivity for our region’s people and businesses.

“We urge everyone to get involved in this vital work and provide their views to the consultation, helping to shape future transport networks that are not only efficient and reliable, but are sustainable too.”

More information on the Decarbonisation strategy, including the opportunity to respond to the consultation, can be found here.

Tim Wood will be delivering a keynote speech at TCR North on November 11, 2021. Register to attend here.

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