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COP26 Day 10 – Transport

This is the COP that will kick start the mass market for zero emission vehicles – a transition that needs to be significantly accelerated to keep 1.5°C within reach. The global transition has reached a tipping point.

Transport Day will bring together leaders from across the sector to accelerate the transition to 100% zero emission vehicles. Transport Day events will also galvanise action to decarbonise the harder to abate forms of transport: aviation and shipping.

The Headline event of the Presidency Programme, ‘Accelerating the ZEV Transition: A One Way Street’ will be attended by leaders representing a substantial proportion of the global new car market, coming together to show their commitment to a zero-emission road transport future. All involved will have committed to 100% zero emission vehicle sales by 2040 (or earlier) as this accelerated pace of transition is crucial to meet Paris Agreement 1.5oC goals.

Talks through the rest of the programme will focus on green shipping, international road freight and aviation with the launch of the International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition – a new group of states that want to meet the challenge of net zero for aviation and are encouraging all states to do the same.

You can see the full Presidency Programme here.

Watch COP live here.

Within the North East, commitments are in place to transition to a green, healthy and dynamic region with Transport North East and Tees Valley Combined Authority implementing Strategic Transport Plans for the future.

Transport North East conducted an 8-week public consultation for their North East Transport Plan which sets out the region’s transport aspirations up to 2035, including a live programme of 243 schemes which equal at least £6.8bn of transport investment.


Transport Plan – Transport North East

Existing Active Travel Campaigns include, ‘Go Smarter, Go Active’, created to help more people walk and cycle in the region, inspiring confidence to travel more actively and sustainably and, in turn, reduce carbon emissions. New resources were launched to support the project including an interactive cycling and walking map of the region to help people plan more sustainable journeys.

Transport North East are also working in partnership with Go North East, Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council to deliver 73 zero emission buses to streets of the region. You can read their expression of interest and see the intended routes here.

The Tees Valley Strategic Transport Plan sets out the regions aims for 2020 – 2030 with a focus on improving the transport system for local people and businesses ensuring integration between different transport modes. They recognise the need to provide genuine alternatives to the car, but also facilitate a model shift to more sustainable modes and reduce carbon emissions through the improvement of walking and cycling routes and public transport networks.

The focus of this plan is on improving the transport system for local people and businesses ensuring integration between different transport modes.

Their Strategic Transport Plan is the overarching transport plan for Tees Valley with Implementations Plans in place covering cycling, walking, roads, air, freight, rail, bus and local to show how details of the transport plan will be delivered at a local level.

The full Strategic Transport Plan can be viewed here.

This morning at COP26, the Presidency Programme launched The Clydebank Declaration, a global initiative within the Zero-Emission Shipping Mission, encouraging governments to support the establishment of ‘green shipping corridors’ – decarbonised shipping routes between two ports.

The North East is already leading the way in developing clean maritime technology as earlier this year two Newcastle University and industry projects have been backed by the Department of Transport as winners of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition. Clean Tyne will create a blueprint for the decarbonisation of the UK’s ports, while CLEANFERRY will help transform the carbon footprint of ferry services across the Tyne. You can read more here.

Dogger Bank, located off the coast of North East England will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm and will use world-leading installation vessels to build the site, as well as state of the art Service Operation Vessels (SOV’s) to service the site. North Star Renewables, based at Port of Tyne will build the 3 SOV’s using designs at the leading edge of operability and sustainability to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. When berthed, the vessels will take power from shore which will then be stored in batteries on board.

You can learn more about Dogger Bank in Equinor’s presentation here.

Focussing attention on net zero road use, An increased use of electric vehicles (EVs), reduced reliance on CO2-intensive electricity from the National Grid and an increase in locally-generated renewable energy are three ways in which cities could dramatically reduce their carbon output.

Northumbria University have worked with European colleagues and made key advances in a proposed plan that would allow EVs, and stationary second-hand EV and or other batteries where economical, to store renewable energy when not in use. This could then be fed back into the local grid during times of peak energy demand.

Britishvolt, the leading UK battery cell technology specialist teamed up with Durham, Newcastle and Northumbria Universities to benefit from their world-leading expertise.

The partnership will see the three universities providing Britishvolt with support in R&D and innovation with the view to becoming the educational providers of choice moving forward.

Britishvolt’s gigaplant is based in Northumberland and they remain on track to start production of world-class lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications by the end of 2023. Moving the world forward with EV manufacturing and roll-out, driving the electric revolution.

Within North East organisations and businesses, the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust are reducing travel for patients to help the environment by embracing the virtual systems that were put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, between 10% and 20% of outpatient appointments at the trust were conducted digitally, this increased to 70% during the pandemic and equated to almost 11,000 appointments.

Major benefits for patients as Northumbria embraces virtual technology during COVID-19 – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Organisations like Your Homes Newcastle are taking transport into consideration when reducing their carbon emissions and now offer electric vehicle pool cars to staff for travelling to appointments and meetings around the city.

Durham County Council are encouraging their communities to cycle more by offering a free bike hire scheme to help people get to work, save money and keep healthy.

Find out more here.

How you can get involved:

Net Zero Emissions is probably the key phrase on everyone’s minds during COP 26 conference. What does this mean for businesses and how do you go about achieving it alongside all your other business priorities, particularly as we emerge from the global pandemic? Carbonfootprint.com hold monthly sustainable business network events to help SME’s make and achieve targets. This months’ focus was Net Zero with a case study focus on electric vehicles with Candice Oosthuizen – Tuskerdirect Ltd .

You can watch the event again, and sign up to future events here.

The Build Better Now events programme follows the daily themes of the official COP26 Presidency Programme with a focus on Built Environment. Events are free and open to a global audience, featuring speakers from across the global industry, they are an inspiring way to engage with the solutions our buildings can provide.

Register for and watch today’s session (available on demand)

Planning for Transport and Connectivity: How do we build holistic net zero and resilient places of the future?