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Transport Decarbonisation Strategy: Too Little Too Late? Green Angel Syndicate Briefing

Photo of a plane

Green Angel Syndicate Briefing on the Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Strategy.

Yesterday, the Government announced its Transport Decarbonisation Strategy. While some of the content was already public knowledge, such as the plan to remove the internal combustion engine from cars in the UK by 2030, there are other areas where we’ve been waiting for the Government to act for a long time. Crucially, Aviation. Here, we find a commitment to make domestic flight emission-free by 2040, and international flight the same by 2050.

Targets for decarbonising road haulage is another controversial topic. Lorries do not lend themselves to electrification, and have not been included in the ruling to ban the internal combustion engine from our roads by 2030. Instead, we find here a commitment to end the use of diesel driven lorries by 2040.

Voices are already loud in condemnation of the delays in these measures. 2040 is too late for emission-free domestic flight, 2050 is much too late for international flight. The damage done between now and then by continued flights will contribute materially to the problems we are already facing. Lorries similarly cannot be allowed to continue to add to global warming while we wait until 2040 for them to adapt to the requirements of our new world conditions.

The key point we at Green Angel Syndicate want to make is that the timing of these changes is entirely dependent on successful innovation. The faster we can introduce alternatives, the faster we can decarbonise transport  effectively and economically. Aviation fuel replacement will almost certainly require renewable electricity of one kind or another. Green Angel Syndicate receives over 700 applications a year from innovative start-ups looking at reversing and reducing carbon emissions. The pace of invention is accelerating all the time, not least among the aviation industry itself. But we need more, and faster.

Lorries will almost certainly be best served by hydrogen-based alternatives. We are already seeing innovation in the hydrogen sector increasing enormously, as a result of the public sector’s growing interest in it. Green Angel Syndicate is actively encouraging hydrogen projects to apply for funding.

Green Angel Syndicate CEO Nick Lyth, comments: “If the Transport Decarbonisation Strategy can be adapted to help stimulate the rapid pace of innovation and reflect the urgency of the climate crisis, it should be possible to bring these targets forward. This is vital. The Strategy, as it stands, is not sufficiently ambitious.”

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