New body launched to help steer UK transport decarbonisation

A new body – the Council for Net Zero Transport – has been launched to help forge a clear, strategic direction for road transport decarbonisation.   

Convened by Zemo Partnership, the Council for Net Zero Transport will be chaired by Lord Deben, former environment secretary and chair of the Climate Change Committee.

It aims to engage senior figures from Government, industry, environment and academic sectors.

Lord Deben said: “Our generation faces no greater challenge than that of tackling climate change. With transport responsible for over a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, if we’re going to solve this problem, we have to effectively decarbonise transport. We must do this for our environment, and we will reap rewards both politically and economically from doing so.”

Zemo executive director, Claire Haigh, says that decarbonising transport is a vital – and particularly challenging – element of the UK’s legally binding net zero targets, reports Fleet News.

“The policy prescriptions needed to do this are complex, nuanced and cross-sectoral, and achieving a successful outcome will be of huge benefit to the UK’s environment, society and economy,” she explained. This is too vital a task for us to be distracted by over-simplifications and the short-term vagaries of our political system.

“We have some world-leading targets but we’re at a key moment in the transition and what we need now is a laser-like focus on delivery.

To achieve this, we’ll need the full participation of government, nationally and locally – to the level of each town and parish council, industry, consumers and operators.”

As a trailblazer project for the rest of the UK, Zemo Partnership has also announced new project on behalf of the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Commercial Vehicle Decarbonisation programme will deliver a bespoke strategy for Wales covering heavy and light-duty commercial vehicles, with focus on sustainable fuels, electrification and the potential role for hydrogen. Zemo will be working closely with the Government of Wales to develop the strategy and routes to delivery.

Lee Waters, deputy minister for climate change in the Government for Wales said: “We’re excited by the potential of this project to stimulate and accelerate the decarbonisation of commercial vehicles in Wales which we view as a key challenge on our path to net zero.”

Zemo Partnership’s chair, Philip Sellwood, added: “The new Council for Net Zero Transport along with the invitation to work alongside the Welsh Government come at a key time in transport’s decarbonisation transition.

“We’ll be working even more closely with our wide-ranging membership to focus on what we need to do together to deliver the targets in the best interests of our environment and the UK’s industrial future.”

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