Reduce car use and improve the carbon efficiency of vehicles

With around 86 per cent of the UK’s domestic transport carbon emissions coming from road transport, reducing car use and improving the carbon efficiency of vehicles will be an important part of the mix of policies and actions to achieve statutory 80 per cent cuts in emissions over 1990 figures by 2050.

Cutting car dependency means reducing the need to travel by thinking about location and connectivity between homes, jobs, schools, hospitals, shops and open spaces, and planning appropriately scaled mixed-use development. Encouraging low-carbon technologies improves the carbon efficiency of vehicles – both for passengers and for freight – and complements measures to encourage more travel that does not involve cars.

Reducing carbon emissions from transport can also be integrated with health and economic objectives. There are around 30,000 deaths or serious injuries from road accidents every year. Air pollution contributes to respiratory diseases and is estimated to reduce life expectancy by seven to eight months. Congestion is estimated to cost the UK economy £20 billion per year. So developing policies and actions that can reduce transport emissions as well as tackle broader sustainable community objectives will be more efficient and sustainable in the long term.

Local authorities will need to address transport as part of their commitment to reduce carbon emissions through the local area agreement. There are opportunities to develop policies which lead to multiple outcomes, such as reducing congestion, tackling childhood obesity and improved air quality. Action is required in existing as well as new neighbourhoods. The local development framework gives the local authority the opportunity to embed sustainable transport objectives as part of the core strategy and to actively link spatial and transport planning.

CABE and Urban Practitioners
with the cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield