The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport CILT(UK), has outlined its 18-point action plan to combat emissions and deliver a net-zero economy. As part of COP26 CILT(UK) has produced a series of policy papers covering the challenge of decarbonisation across current and future transport operations and practice.  

Developed as part of its larger policy campaign Routes to Net-Zero 2050, the seven individual papers were launched today. Covering both passenger and freight transport, the papers seek to set out the problems and issues the logistics and transport sector will face in combating carbon emissions.  

Produced by senior industry experts and representatives from the Institute’s Public Policy Community across rail freight, roads and traffic, aviation, bus and coach, accessibility, passenger rail and freight and logistics sectors, the papers set out to inform and guide the industry through the challenge of reducing emissions.  

While each of the reports gives in-depth analysis of sector specific issues, CILT has identified 18 actions and measures that need to be delivered in the route to net-zero.  

“Climate change is arguably the most pressing environmental challenge of our time, and with logistics and transport accounting for 28 per cent of all UK carbon emissions, our profession has a huge role to play in reaching net zero by 2050,” Daniel Parker-Klein, director of policy and communications at CILT (UK) said. “This collection of papers presents our latest thinking as part of CILT’s Route to Net Zero campaign and is intended to prompt and inform debate surrounding COP26. The challenges are great but so too are the opportunities, and CILT believes that our sector will be a key part of the solution.” 

The recommended 18 actions and measures are:  

  1. The role of the transport sector

It is recognised that the transport sector is a major contributor to the level of current emissions, and it is incumbent upon the sector to play a full, consistent and sustainable part in reducing emissions, particularly in the short to medium term. The reduction in emissions needs to be a major factor in appraising future transport projects. 

  1. The importance of this decade

If net zero is to be realised by 2050, many measures will have to be in place during the 2020s. 

  1. Increased focus

The UK’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan is welcomed as a first step in initiating change. But it needs to be more focussed and targeted in what and how change is to be achieved. 

  1. Land use activities

The interface between land use activities and planning for them and the accompanying transport facilities and services needs to be understood and strengthened. 

  1. Consideration of changing consumer habits

It is accepted that climate change and the pandemic has brought a major change in travel awareness and behaviour that has led to changing patterns of travel and consumer habits. These are likely to continue and possibly accelerate. The public are now generally more alert to the issues relating to climate change and health. They are adapting their habits where they can sense they will gain benefits. Transport provision will have to follow accordingly. 

  1. Public and private sector interface

The public/private sector interface is a vital component of how change is to be delivered. The majority of transport services are provided by the private sector, which needs certainty over the direction and scale of change so government must make that clear in guidance and funding. It will need to intervene if it wants decarbonisation to succeed. 

  1. Local Authorities

Local Authorities (LAs) have an important role to play, particularly on the local interface between land uses and transport. LAs need clear guidance from Central Government on what is expected but it must be sufficiently flexible so it can be adapted to local circumstances. 

  1. Rural and urban distinction

It is critical to distinguish between the needs of rural and urban communities. There cannot be an “one size fits all” approach. 

  1. Quick win opportunities 

“Quick wins” are required to promote the importance of change. For example, a group of infill rail electrification schemes, particularly for freight; investment in battery or hydrogen buses; guidance to LAs for Local Transport Plans (LTPs) to prepare detailed plans for decarbonised travel; for active travel (i.e. cycling and walking); a closer interface between land use and transport provision; an acceleration in purchasing electric vehicles and the removal of “old” fossil-fuelled vehicles; and the introduction of more Clean Air Zones. 

  1. EVs

Electric Vehicles need encouragement if their take-up is to be accelerated. Electric vehicles do impose costs on highways and these need to be covered through duties or maintenance charges. Electric Vehicle designs must be compatible with the needs of the disabled and charging points must be accessible for all. Charging should also be set at reasonable levels but be applied uniformly across the UK. 

  1. Fuel duty

Fuel Duty revenues are falling so alternative revenues are likely to be needed. Road charging should be considered.  

  1. Motoring costs and fares

There is an inconsistency between current motoring costs and bus/rail fares, fuel duty has not risen for many years, but fares have. If modal change is to be encouraged, then there should be a more consistent application between what motorists pay and what public transport users pay. 

  1. Public perception

Public acceptability of change will be vital. Decarbonisation inevitably imposes costs so these need to be fully explained and understood. An advertising campaign should be launched. 

  1. Pilot schemes

Pilot schemes should be promoted. More funds are required for research into developing new and innovative forms of sustainable travel.  

  1. Last mile deliveries 

Supply chain practices are changing and will continue to do so in response to new global and environmental conditions. Consumer habits will also change accordingly. There is a need to distinguish between trunk haul and local or “last mile” deliveries. Trunk haul by road will be difficult to change in the short to medium term to alternative fuel arrangements. Many of these journeys are capable of changing to rail haulage, particularly if undertaken as electrified rail freight (and thus with much lower emissions) and should be encouraged by additional route capacity and appropriately located distribution centres.  

  1. Local delivery EV targets

For local deliveries targets should be set for deliveries to be transferred to electric vehicles by a stated date, but certainly within 10 years. 

  1. Short-haul and long-haul distinction

A distinction should be made between short haul air flights and long- distance ones. It is conceivable that more modern aircraft (i.e. more fuel efficient) could become available for short haul flights within the next decade. This should be expedited. Alternative means of travel should also be explored and encouraged. It is unlikely that for long haul flights more modern long-range aircraft will be available in the short to medium term. 

  1. Skills shortages solutions

Skill and driver shortages remain a concern. A re-assessment of needs is required and appropriate training and apprenticeships introduced. 

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