Climate action: transport

How are we integrating sustainability and resilience into transport plans?

Climate change hub

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Clean, connected and in-control: what tomorrow's transport technology could mean for councils

Clean, connected and in-control: what tomorrow’s transport technology could mean for councils 

Councils in charge: making the case for electric charging investment

Councils in charge: making the case for electric charging investment 

Decarbonising transport briefings

These briefings are designed to help councils set goals for reducing carbon emissions from transport and understanding a range of key options available to them to make the rapid progress required.


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Swindon Borough Council: Sustainable travel

Swindon Borough Council has developed a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) that has helped secure the creation and maintenance of travel plans for new education, workplace, and residential developments. It obligates developers to fund initiatives through payment of a significant travel plan contribution to the council for it to resource implementation, or payment of a bond which repaid when the developer fulfils their obligations.

Read the full case study

Lancashire County Council: CO2e assessment and reduction in carriageway resurfacing

Lancashire County Council recognised that a planned highway capital surfacing programme was a highly carbon intensive programme of works, so begun a journey to ascertain the carbon output of the surfacing programme, record and measure changes made to reduce it, and develop tools to allow them to integrate carbon usage into the asset lifecycle modelling.

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Colchester Borough Council: eCargo bike library

Colchester eCargo bike library aims to break down barriers to the use of electric cargo (eCargo) bikes for deliveries instead of cars or vans. The Council got funding for 25 eCargo bikes and five electric trailers. 13 were given to 10 local organisations including Colchester Hospital and a new eCargo bike delivery service. Six are available for short term loans for local organisations, and the rest used by Council staff such as those in Neighbourhood services.

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Swale Borough Council: New EV Council Fleet

Swale Borough Council will now save more than 30 tonnes of carbon every year with a fleet of nine new electric vehicles.

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Leicester City Council: Santander Cycles Leicester

Santander Cycles Leicester is a new public ebike share system for the city, owned by Leicester City Council, delivered by Ride On and supported by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Santander UK.

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Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: Emissions-based parking permits

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council moved from a resident parking permit structure with seven price bands to one which is more directly related to the CO2 emissions of the vehicle.

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Middlesbrough Council: E-scooter trial

Middlesbrough Council was the first area in the UK to allow a trial to enable the use of private rented E-scooters on its highway, following changes in legislation.

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Bristol City Council: Zero petrol project

Bristol City Council and Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust have an innovative programme to reduce the amount of petrol Community Health teams use.

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North Yorkshire County Council: Parish Portal takes highways ‘super customers' online

North Yorkshire County Council’s in-house development team has built a parish portal to automate and streamline service requests from parish clerks regarding highways defects and enable them to access real-time information on subsequent progress and repairs.

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Cambridge City Council

Region: East of England

Target: In 2016 set an aspiration to achieve zero carbon status by 2050. Called upon the government to give LAs greater powers and to provide the national policies and the investment in renewable energy sources, home energy efficiency public transport and low emission vehicles needed to reach net zero carbon by 2030.

Project: Projects include installation of 21 electric charge points in progress. Policy direction to require all taxis to be electric vehicles by a certain date. Councils can provide support through providing planning permission for electric vehicle only taxi ranks and subsidised licencing fees. Figures are based on 435 taxis, with a 60% reduction in CO2 through switching to EVs.

A 25% reduction in council GHG emissions since 2016, achieved through measures including energy efficiency measures in large council buildings saving 163 tCO2 annually. Measures installed included low energy lighting, a CHP system to utilise waste heat, new building management system to provide heating controls, and additional roof insulation

Related costs: £18k pa (for two days a week of an officer to engage with taxi drivers and ensure planning provision is made for EV ranks)

Carbon saving: 1,644 tonnes/yr based on entire taxi fleet becoming EV.

Further information is available.

Cambridgeshire County Council

Region: East of England

Target: Declared a climate emergency in May 2019. Set five targets for the council including 50% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2023 and delivering council owned buildings owned and occupied and fleet vehicles (excluding gritters!) to be fossil fuel free. Also includes adaptation targets and biodiversity targets.

Project: A 12MW solar farm launched in summer 2019 with 45,000 PV panels which will generate enough electricity for 3,000 homes and saves 3,570 tonnes of CO2 per annum since 2017. £11 million investment into 55 schools to reduce annual carbon emissions by 3370 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum and £910,000 energy bill savings. A pipeline of projects is under development totalling £56million which will reduce carbon emissions from 2022/23 by 10.705 tonnes per annum. In addition, £583,000 of investment from a £1million energy efficiency investment fund has been delivered into 51 LED lighting upgrade projects and two low carbon heating solutions.

Related costs: Initial investment of a £9million into the 12 MW solar farm, £11 million in schools and a loan facility of £56 million from a pipeline of energy projects. Plus £1million energy efficiency fund. Totalling £76 million.

Carbon saving: Current annual savings total's 6,944 tonnes and over lifetime will be 277,760 tonnes. By 2023 the pipeline of investments will add CO2 reductions and altogether this should reach 16,994 tonnes per annum and 679,760 lifetime savings.

Further information is available.

Watford Borough Council

Region: East of England

Target: Declared a climate emergency and to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Project: Watford has launched an innovative programme of transport solutions to help it meet to commitment to climate change. These involve: a dedicated travel app (travelWatford) to give people the information they need to make more sustainable travel choices, the introduction of the first bike share scheme in Hertfordshire (provided by Beryl Bikes) and an on-demand bus service the first supported by a local authority. In addition, it has invested in a new cycle hub for Watford to encourage more cycling, has an ambitious programme of EV charger installation and is piloting an innovative parking sensor project through the Internet of Things.

Further information is available

Chesterfield Borough Council

Region: East Midlands

Target: Declared climate emergency

Project: Established a climate working group to develop a costed action plan

Further information is available.

Northamptonshire County Council

Region: East Midlands

Project: As part of the government’s total transport initiative, Northamptonshire County Council used a ‘Big Data’ set to analyse local travel patterns. A new social enterprise board was created, which now has access to live travel information on around 32,000 travellers, covering almost 38% of all trips in the County carried out by employees and students associated with the parent organisations. This ‘Big Data’ set allows individual travel plans to be combined into a single virtual picture, enabling a radically different approach to transport planning.

Further information is available.

Nottingham City Council

Region: East Midlands

Target: Declared climate emergency and target to be a carbon neutral city by 2028. On track to meeting it 2020 target or 20% energy generation from renewable and low carbon sources.

Project: Tram network runs on green electricity

Carbon saving: Nottingham has already surpassed its 2020 target of reducing CO2 admissions by 26% (compared to 2005). In 2017, Nottingham had managed to reduce total CO2 emissions by 41% (49% reduction in per person emissions) from 2005

Further information is available.

London Borough of Islington

Region: Greater London

Target: Declared a climate emergency and target of net zero carbon by 2030

Project: Delivering the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle Streets programme - bans all non-zero emission vehicles from the Old Street and the City Fringe area at certain times of the day. Also replacing 160 of its fleet with vehicles that will either significantly reduce or eliminate emissions, to add to the 150 vehicles that are Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) compliant.

Carbon saving: Nitrogen dioxide levels have reduced by 15% since 2012

Further information is available.

Richmond upon Thames Council

Region: Greater London

Target: Declared a climate emergency and carbon neutral by 2030. Reduce the use of single waste plastic by 2020

Project: Campaigning against the expansion of Heathrow's third runway

Further information is available.

Manchester City Council

Region: North West

Target: To be zero carbon by 2038

Project: Construction on Manchester City’s Civic Quarter Heat Network to generate low carbon power for the city has begun. Initially 5 buildings will be connected to their HN.

Related costs: £20 million project

Carbon saving: Save 3100 tonnes of CO2 emissions in first five years

Further information is available.

Oxford City Council

Region: South East

Target: Declared a climate emergency in January 2019, to become net zero as a Council in 2020, and will be introducing the UK's first city centre zero emission zone starting in December 2020.

Project: Plans for a zero-emission zone starting in December 2020. Under current proposals, it will see the introduction of a charging scheme in the Red Zone between 7am-7pm, with a £10 charge for non-compliant vehicles entering the zone. All Black Cabs licensed in the city now required to move from 0% electric today to 100% zero-emitting by 2025 and all buses running in most of the city to have one of the cleanest (Euro 6) engines by 2020 then be zero emitting by 2035 at the latest.

Further information is available.

Stroud District Council

Region: South West

Target: Council became carbon neutral in 2015; councillors have committed to make the district carbon neutral by 2030. The first council to achieve carbon neutrality on its own estates in Europe in 2015.

Project: Created post of 'carbon neutral project officer' and ringfenced funding from its business rate pilot gain to support work.

Further information is available.

Leeds City Council

Region: Yorkshire and Humber

Target: Declared a climate emergency, target to be carbon neutral by 2030

Project: Launching a Clean Charging Air Zone (type B+) in 2020 to encourage businesses to transition to cleaner vehicles.

Further information is available.