- Reducing the need to travel
- Shifting to sustainable transport options
- Using technology to reduce emissions from vehicles
Transport accounts for 30% of Devon’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The overwhelming majority of these (98%) is from road transport. The remaining 2% is from rail.1
Aviation and shipping emissions are not included in the transport footprint but would add 3% and 0.3% respectively to Devon’s total emissions.1
This section describes what needs to happen to achieve a net-zero transport system in Devon based mainly on the Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) Further Ambition Scenario. It introduces goals which need to be achieved to overcome barriers identified at the Thematic Hearings and the Public Call for Evidence to achieving net-zero. Actions are proposed to achieve the goals.
10.2 The Change Needed
- Reduce the need to travel.
- Shift to sustainable transport options.
- Use technology to reduce emissions from vehicles.
10.2.1 Reduce the need to travel
Where available we should choose to use local amenities and services and support them so that they remain part of our communities. We can also make use of the internet to work flexibly to avoid regular commuting, and to access more services digitally.
We must also plan our settlements so that they sustain local employment and services and create ’20-minute neighbourhoods’. This is discussed further in Section 6 – Cross Cutting Themes and Issues.
10.2.2 Shift to sustainable transport options
If we just substitute existing vehicles with electric and hydrogen alternatives and maintain our current behaviours, we will miss important opportunities to achieve the health and wellbeing benefits and transformational changes to our town and city centres that an increased use of active and public transport can bring.
The UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) expects 5% of car journeys by distance to shift to walking and cycling by 2035 and 10% by 2050.2 How best to deliver active travel, improved public transport and shared mobility facilities will need careful consideration, particularly for rural communities.
10.2.3 Use technology to reduce emissions from vehicles
Smaller vehicles are likely to become electric. Electrifying larger vehicles is more problematic due to their power requirements. Technologies like biomethane, synthetic fuels, hydrogen and ammonia are likely to play a more major role.
10.3 Greenhouse Gas Outcomes
Figure 10.1 shows Devon’s transport GHG emissions in the context of Devon’s total GHG emissions. Emissions from transport in 2019 were 2.3Mt CO2e. The Figure also shows the projected reduction trajectory for these to 2050 as a result of the delivery of the CCC’s Further Ambition Scenario aided by the actions in this Plan. Through the activities identified in this Plan, by 2050, the emissions are expected to fall to 0.45 Mt CO2e. These will be become net-zero through activities that remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
10.4 Other Opportunities and Benefits
- An increase in physical activity through more active travel could save the NHS £17bn nationally over 20 years due to disease reduction, and lead to improved mental health and wellbeing.3
- Vulnerable and disadvantaged groups are more likely to rely on walking, cycling and public transport. Improving access to active and sustainable travel will help these groups.3
- Our reliance on fossil-fuel powered transport imposes significant economic costs and risks on society. These include pollution damage to buildings, ecosystems, agriculture and our health (see above); time lost through traffic congestion; and geopolitical risk of maintaining fossil-fuel supplies.4
- Investment in better streets and public spaces for pedestrians can boost footfall and trading by up to 40%.5
- Devon’s leading aerospace and marine sectors are contributing to the development of zero-carbon technology.
10.5 Devon’s Goals to Meet Net-Zero
Devon has eight goals relating to Transport for how we achieve Net-zero.
10.5.1 Goal TA – Relocalisation and Technology Reduces Our Need to Travel
High car-based mobility has meant that many communities have lost local services. Organisations must consider the distribution and accessibility of their services and the travel and carbon implications for people needing to access them, particularly when planning changes. Public bodies should continue to strive to distribute economic and community redevelopment opportunities, across Devon as much as possible.
The Thematic Hearings and Call for Evidence identified the need for enhanced digital connectivity to promote flexible working patterns and reduce our need to travel. The Connecting Devon and Somerset Programme plans to have given 96% of Devon’s homes and businesses access to superfast-broadband by the end of 2024.6 Broadband access and speed must continue to be enhanced.
T1. Continue the roll out of the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme.
T2. Continue to provide employment and community assets across Devon in order to minimise the need to travel.
T3. Consider the carbon implications when making changes to community services.
10.5.2 Goal TB – Using Active, Shared and Public Transport is Safe, Efficient and Affordable
It must become easier to access information on travel options and how to get started with active travel. Travel Devon and Sustrans are just two among many organisations already contributing to this.
Making Devon more active-travel friendly
We must be able to walk and cycle safely and conveniently between and within settlements. This will require further improvements to the layout, linkages and maintenance of routes, and this provision must be planned for strategically at community level through Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs).
Most cars are parked for 80% of the time.7 Sharing vehicles frees-up road space for active and public transport. The expansion of car clubs must be supported and carsharing platforms, such as Carshare Devon, and taxis must be promoted as being part of the solution.
Bus is the main form of public transport in Devon.8 Without financial support, almost 80% of the County would be without a bus service. To illustrate this, the extent of bus subsidisation by Devon County Council is shown in Figure 10.2.
Since the publication of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan, the three transport authorities in Devon have published Bus Service Improvement Plans in partnership with local bus operators. It is vital that the existing level of service is maintained and opportunities are seized to provide further services and increase the frequency of existing routes. Innovative models will be needed in rural areas to improve services. These include community-operated and voluntary sector transport.
The three priorities for improving rail are:9
- A resilient and reliable railway: Protecting the coastal mainline.
- Reducing journey times and better connectivity between the South West and London, the Midlands and the North.
- Increasing capacity and comfort. An increase in the frequency of trains and numbers of seats must meet forecasted passenger growth.
Enabling more people to access the rail network is also important. Opportunities must be taken to work with government to reopen and provide new stations and infrastructure as demand for sustainable travel options grows.
T4. Provide up-to-date information and advice about reducing the need to travel and the most sustainable travel choices.
T5. Implement car-free days in Devon’s urban areas.
Walking and cycling
T6. Develop Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans.
T7. Provide more cycle confidence and maintenance training.
T8. Support community bike rental schemes.
T9. Where possible, design pavements and junctions to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists.
T10. Introduce reduced speed limits where appropriate.
T11. Reallocate road capacity to sustainable modes.
T12. Local Plans to ensure new developments are designed with filtered permeability to promote sustainable travel.
T13. Reduce the space available for parking where appropriate.
Shared and public transport
T14. Support car clubs.
T15. Promote car-sharing technology to link drivers with passengers.
T16. Support innovative transport solutions in rural areas, including long-term options for community and voluntary sector transport.
T17. Enhance bus priority measures.
T18. Protect and enhance funding for local bus routes, to ensure people can access services, employment and events without requiring a car.
T19. Explore opportunities to set fares to support equal opportunities to access mobility for all.
T20. Encourage national government to remove VAT from cycles and e-cycles.
T21. Work with government to improve strategic and branch-line rail infrastructure and services, including reviewing the reopening of lines.
T22. Take advantage of opportunities arising from the National Bus Strategy to deliver long-term, sustained improvements in bus services.
Travel and Covid-19
During March to May 2020, significant increases in active travel were observed. Cycle flows increased more than 25% across Devon and by 50% at leisure orientated sites in Exeter when compared to 2019.
In an attempt to maintain this trend and speed up progress in delivering strategic cycle routes in Exeter, Devon County Council used money from government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund to deliver temporary improvements. These included modal filters (which closed roads to car/van traffic, but remained open to pedestrians, cyclists and buses), widened footways, and helped establish quieter and safer corridors along cycle routes. In addition, pedestrianisation schemes, parking suspensions and new cycle parking were delivered.
Following public consultation and the announcement of a second instalment of funding, work has continued to refine and build upon these improvements. Measures that received a negative response will be removed, and other temporary measures will be made permanent or trialled for an extended period.
10.5.3 Goal TC – Alternatives to Private Car Use Are Available Alongside Measures to Make Car-Use Less Attractive
A majority of the Devon Climate Assembly (74%) supported reducing traffic emissions by making car use less attractive, provided people’s mobility was not restricted by doing this.10
The Assembly (68%) suggested using a Tourist Levy – a common charge abroad paid by tourists – to raise funds to deliver sustainable transport initiatives.
Whilst imposing workplace parking charges was not favoured by the Assembly, its members agreed that employers should continue to be supported to encourage their employees to reduce car use.
Congestion charging (where drivers pay a fee to enter a congestion zone) and low emission zones (that restrict access to the most polluting vehicles) received support from 62% of the Assembly. Its members wanted these implemented in ways that did not disadvantage people living in rural areas who have a greater reliance on private cars.
T23. Investigate the concept and mechanisms of a Tourist Levy, including careful consideration of its impact on local businesses.
T24. Review the potential for congestion charges and low emission zones in appropriate areas across Devon on a place-by-place basis, giving consideration to local impacts and likely effectiveness.
T25. Use car park pricing to balance the needs of vehicle access to rural and urban areas with those of reducing car use.
T26. Employers to be encouraged and supported to make commuting by active, shared and public transport more attractive.
10.5.4 Goal TD – It is Easy to Transition Between Different Types of Travel and Transport
Cycling and walking is not feasible for all journeys but can be made more viable when combined with public transport. This can be made easier by offering integrated ticketing across travel modes, better coordination of timetables and ensuring space is provided for enhanced Park & Ride and mobility hubs. Mobility hubs offer easy interchange, such as co-located bus and train terminals, taxi ranks and shared EV and bike facilities.
T27. Greater provision of cycle parking across Devon and at key interchange locations.
T28. Local Plans to require mobility hubs for new developments of appropriate size.
T29. Make it easier to take cycles on trains.
T30. Introduce integrated ticketing.
T31. Modernise and create car parks at strategic points to encourage car sharing and onward journeys by active travel or public transport.
10.5.5 Goal TE – Electric Vehicles Become Commonplace
The electrification of smaller cars, vans and boats is happening at a rapid rate. Although the development of electric boats is not yet as developed as the electrification of cars and vans, Devon is pioneering the development of small, electric commercial vessels.11
Confidence in using electric vehicles can be improved by ensuring charging infrastructure is in place and 92% of the Devon Climate Assembly support this.10 EV Charging Strategies are required to coordinate deployment between local authorities.
Aggregation of procurement by DCE partners and other organisations to reduce the cost of vehicles and charging infrastructure would also stimulate local markets and supply chains by providing volume. Local authorities with responsibility for taxi licensing can accelerate the introduction of electric cars into taxi fleets by mandating ultra-low emissions vehicles.12
T32. Develop EV Charging Strategies to deploy the right chargers in the right place.
T33. DCE partners to use their assets to provide publicly-accessible EV charging and shared mobility infrastructure.
T34. Provide electric charging infrastructure in harbours and marinas.
T35. DCE partners and organisations in the County to transition their fleets to Ultra Low Emission Vehicles.
T36. Accelerate the switch to Ultra Low Emission Vehicle taxis by placing requirements and incentives within the licensing process.
10.5.6 Goal TF – Flying is Reduced and Devon is Contributing to Low Carbon Aviation
Reducing aviation emissions requires national and international legislation as well as individual behaviour change. Local authorities have limited powers to influence this agenda and there is a risk that attempting to constrain aviation in Devon without national action would lead to carbon leakage – i.e. residents travelling to use airports elsewhere and increasing total emissions and economic losses.
Electrification is most suited for short-haul flights, while hydrogen and synthetic fuels are being developed for medium and long-haul travel.13 Devon is well placed to support the acceleration of zero-carbon aviation given its existing aerospace expertise.14
T5. Provide up-to-date information and advice about reducing the need to travel and the most sustainable travel choices.
T37. Seize opportunities to trial low-carbon aviation.
10.5.7 Goal TG – Freight Distribution is More Efficient
The optimal location of distribution centres and creation of new collaborations between haulage companies to promote co-loading could reduce heavy goods vehicle (HGV) mileage by 10% nationally.15 This may need subsidies from national government to help make new approaches cost effective and to support haulage companies in creating the required infrastructure.
Within urban areas, small freight items can be distributed using more sustainable modes, such as electric cargo bikes, that can be trialled locally before implementation more widely.
Rail is currently the lowest-carbon form of transport for long-distance freight.16 Grants are available from government to support the moving of freight from road to rail but grants are no longer available for infrastructure.17 Stakeholders in Devon can collaborate with regional and national bodies to work with government for greater support for rail freight.
T38. Support the provision of electric cargo bikes.
T39. Transport authorities and hauliers to collaborate to identify opportunities to reduce emissions.
T40. Local Plans to safeguard existing rail-freight infrastructure.
T41. Work with government to improve and promote rail-freight grants to incentivise modal shift and provide funding for new infrastructure.
10.5.8 Goal TH – Larger Vehicles have Transitioned to Low Carbon Technologies
The powering needs of many larger vehicles such as heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses, trains, ships and agricultural machinery lend themselves to different future technologies, such as biomethane and hydrogen.
The transition of larger-vehicle fleets to new technologies can be accelerated through collaborative approaches to trials and demonstrations. These can lower the risks for partners through shared learning, supporting local research and the possibility of reduced costs.
T42. Trial low-carbon propulsion for large vehicles and transition fleets to these new technologies.
Needing action beyond Devon
T43. Through the Peninsula Sub-National Body, work with government to pilot and implement low-carbon solutions for trains.
10.6 Summary of the Actions
Figures 10.3 and 10.4 show the reference number and text of each of the Transport actions in this Plan. The anticipated start and duration of each action is shown on the right hand side of the diagram.
The actions with their duration highlighted in red in Figures 10.3 and 10.4 have been identified as a priority through two processes. First, some actions have been selected by the Net Zero Task Force based on an assessment of their potential to contribute to significant emissions reductions and the likelihood they can be implemented. Second, some actions were highlighted as priorities by respondents to the public consultation.
For more detail, including who can help to deliver these actions, see the full action table.
Delivering the actions in this section of the Plan will help to achieve the milestones in Figure 10.5 below. These milestones reflect the Climate Change Committee’s Further Ambition Scenario.
1 Mitchell A. et al. (2020) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report – Devon, Plymouth, Torbay 2019. Centre for Energy and Environment, University of Exeter. Available at: https://www.devonclimateemergency.org.uk/studies-and-data/devons-carbon-footprint/
2 Committee on Climate Change (2019) Net-zero: The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming. Available at: https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/net-zero-the-uks-contribution-to-stopping-global-warming/
3 Jennings, N. et al. (2019) Co-benefits of climate change mitigation in the UK: What issues are the UK public concerned about and how can action on climate change help to address them?, Grantham Institute Briefing Paper, 31, Grantham Institute, Imperial College, London. Available at: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/grantham-institute/public/publications/briefing-papers/Co-benefits-of-climate-change-mitigation-in-the-UK.pdf
4 Cycling UK (2016) Cycling and the Economy, Available at: https://www.cyclinguk.org/campaigning/views-and-briefings/cycling-and-economy
5 Living Streets (2018) The Pedestrian Pound: The Business Case for Better Streets and Places. Available at: https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/media/3890/pedestrian-pound-2018.pdf
6 Connecting Devon and Somerset (Unknown) Digital Infrastructure – Chronology and Narrative. Available at: https://democracy.devon.gov.uk/documents/s38423/Digital%20Infrastructure%20-%20CDS%20Chronology%20and%20Narrative.pdf
7 RAC Foundation (2012) Spaced out: perspectives on parking policy. Available at: http://www.racfoundation.org/research/mobility/spaced-out-perspectives-on-parking
8 Devon County Council (2021) Devon County Council Bus Service Improvement Plan. Available at: https://www.traveldevon.info/bus/bsip/
9 Peninsula Transport (Unknown) Rail Priorities. Available at: https://www.peninsulatransport.org.uk/rail-priorities/
10 Scott, K. and Ward, D. (2021) Devon Climate Assembly – “How should Devon meet the big challenges of climate change?”. Available at: https://www.devonclimateemergency.org.uk/devon-climate-assembly/devon-climate-assembly-report/
11 Williams, A. (2020) UK’s first sea-going electric ferry launches in Plymouth. University of Plymouth. Available at: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/news/uks-first-sea-going-electric-ferry-launches-in-plymouth
12 Local Government Association (2021) Electric Vehicle Taxi transition. Available at: https://www.local.gov.uk/case-studies/electric-vehicle-taxi-transition
13 Engineering and Technology (2021) Airbus to continue burning traditional jet fuel until at least 2050, Available at: https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2021/06/airbus-to-keep-burning-jet-fuel-until-at-least-2050/
14 Think UK South West (2018) Europe’s Aerospace Powerhouse. Available at: https://heartofswlep.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/European-Aerospace-Powerhouse.pdf
15 Committee on Climate Change (2019) Net Zero Technical Report. Available at: https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/net-zero-technical-report/
16 Allwood, J. M. et al. (2019). Absolute Zero. Available at: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.46075
17 Rail Delivery Group (2021) Rail Freight: Building a Stronger, Greener Future for Britain. Available at: https://www.raildeliverygroup.com/media-centre-docman/12827-2021-07-rail-freight-future-for-britain/file.html