The pandemic-induced lockdowns instigated a rapid decline in transport emissions as global travel came to standstill and commuting stopped. However, the transport sector in the UK remains the largest source of emissions in the UK, and as the economy reopens, broad trends are expected to see transport emissions rise again. Against this backdrop, the Government has introduced a date for phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, and is preparing to publish a Transport Decarbonisation Plan which will set out a roadmap for decarbonising surface transport. This plan will promote a shift in consumer behaviour, such as encouraging low emission vehicle uptake. However, such a shift will have major impacts on tax revenue with a reduction in VED and fuel duty. The Government must now decide how to fill this revenue gap, while still getting more people into low emission vehicles ahead of the 2030 ban. The Transport Select Committee is looking at the issue of road pricing as a potential solution, and the results of the Committee’s current inquiry are likely to be examined closely by HM Treasury.
This event was an opportunity to hear first-hand how leading policymakers are approaching the challenges involved in decarbonising road transport, and to discuss how we can deliver a fair transition that makes the UK a world leader in revolutionising the transport sector.