Government meets with top scientists to discuss net-zero options for UK transport

Officials responsible for decarbonising UK transport met with leading researchers from the Cut Carbon Network yesterday, to discuss cutting-edge evidence about how best to deliver the transition to net-zero in the transport sector.

While most sectors have reduced their carbon emissions in recent years, emissions from transport have remained stubbornly high, now making up 33% of the UK’s emissions. To deliver net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, major improvements to how we get around are needed across the UK.

In 2019 the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) invested £5 million in five research networks to find solutions to different aspects of the transport challenge: place-based solutions, electrification, freight, hydrogen, and aviation.

Yesterday the networks shared their initial findings at an online Symposium attended by officials from the Department for Transport; the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government; and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy; as well as a number of leading experts in the field.

Transport Minister, Rachel Maclean MP, who addressed the Symposium, said:

“In order to achieve our net-zero transport goals, we need to do everything we can to make all our journeys cleaner, greener and more efficient. Part of this will involve providing specific adaptable solutions for different cities, across the country.

To help tackle climate change and take a leading role in re-building the economy for the benefit of people and the communities that need it the most, we’re putting a green recovery for transport at the forefront of all our decisions.”

The Symposium was co-organised by EPSRC Transport Decarbonisation Champion Greg Marsden, Professor of Transport Governance at the University of Leeds, who said:

“Decarbonising transport requires an ambitious combination of changes to how people and goods move about, the technologies in use and how they are powered. Such a transition over the coming decades will be very difficult to achieve and, as such, requires a close collaboration between government, industry, and academia. The discussions at this Symposium recognise the scale and scope of the challenge and show how we can build the joint knowledge and capacity to succeed.”

The research networks are continuing to develop cutting-edge evidence to support the UK’s transition to net-zero by 2050 and to inform the development of the Decarbonising Transport Plan in the run up to COP26, due to be hosted by the UK in Glasgow in November 2021.