- 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. The sector is the second-largest emitter of GHG in the County and the UK behind buildings.1
Devon’s aviation and shipping emissions are not included in the transport footprint due to the incomplete nature of the emissions data and high levels of uncertainty. Estimates of emissions for flights departing from Exeter Airport would add 9% to Devon’s transport emissions (3% of total emissions). Estimated emissions from fishing vessels would add 1% to Devon’s transport emissions (0.3% of total emissions).1
Reducing emissions from our transport needs is key to reaching net-zero. Addressing this challenge will require a combination of changing our behaviour, legislation and technology. Our personal travel, as opposed to goods, accounts for around two-thirds of all transport emissions. Transforming how we travel provides the opportunity to create wider benefits for our health, safety, finances and enjoyment of public space.
This section describes what needs to happen to achieve a net-zero transport system in Devon based mainly on the Climate Change Committee’s Further Ambition Scenario. It subsequently introduces a set of goals which need to be achieved to overcome issues that the Net-Zero Task Force has learned from the Thematic Hearings and the Public Call for Evidence are barriers to achieving net-zero. Actions are proposed to achieve the goals.
10.2 The Change Needed
We need to implement the following hierarchy of actions to reduce GHG emissions from transport:2
- Reduce the need to travel. Avoiding the need to travel is the most effective way to minimise GHG emissions.
- Shift to sustainable transport options. These themselves have a hierarchy of active travel (e.g. walking and cycling), followed by public and shared vehicles, and then taxi.
- Use technology to reduce emissions from vehicles. Even once high levels of modal shift have been achieved, there will still be a need for motorised transport. Private vehicles will remain part of ensuring we can travel around Devon, and commercial vehicles will also remain a necessity.
These are described in more detail below.
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 digital services.
We must also plan our settlements so that they provide and sustain local employment, amenities and services. Creating thriving and more self-reliant rural communities through mixed-use development is important to address the causes of travel to 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 substituted existing vehicles with electric and hydrogen alternatives and maintained our current behaviours, we would miss a once-in-a-generational opportunity 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 could bring. By making it easier and more attractive for everybody to use sustainable transport we will we be more active, which will help address the obesity crisis, and air quality will be improved, helping reduce rates of respiratory and cardiovascular disease.3
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) expects 5% of car journeys by distance to shift to walking and cycling by 2035 and 10% by 2050.4 The UK government has set a target of half of all journeys in towns and cities will be cycled or walked by 2030.5 This will be challenging, particularly due to Devon’s dispersed geography of market and coastal towns and rural villages meaning there is often a need to visit larger settlements to access services. Further consideration will be needed on how best to deliver active travel opportunities, improved public transport and shared mobility facilities for our rural communities. Affordability of public transport is still a public concern and low concentrations of passengers in rural areas pose viability challenges. There is a further role for the planning system to ensure settlements are designed to make sustainable travel the most attractive option.
10.2.3 Use technology to reduce emissions from vehicles
Smaller vehicles are likely to become electric. Whilst electric vehicles (EVs) may seem like the ‘silver bullet’, there are environmental and resource issues, therefore they are positioned at the bottom of the hierarchy. Firstly, the electricity used to charge the vehicles needs to be from renewable sources of energy. Moving our transport energy requirement from fossil fuels to electricity, alongside electrifying heating in our buildings, is estimated to increase Devon’s 2018 electricity consumption by about two and a half times. If this demand was generated solely in Devon, we will need to install approximately eight times more renewable electricity generating capacity than is currently available.6 Secondly, large quantities of rare-earth minerals will be required to manufacture batteries and indeed renewable electricity technologies. Concerns have been raised about the future availability of these minerals and the ecological cost of mining them.7
Reducing emissions from larger vehicles, including trains, ships and planes, poses distinct challenges in comparison to smaller vehicles due to their power requirements being so much greater. Electrification of larger vehicles is likely to require an extensive and dependable network of extremely-fast charging facilities or overhead cables, as routinely used by electric trains and previously by various UK cities to operate trolleybuses up until the 1970s.
Whilst alternative solutions exist, the technology is less advanced and it’s not expected that opportunities for rapid decarbonisation for some of these vehicles will be available before 2030. Technologies likely to be used are biomethane, synthetic fuels, hydrogen and ammonia.
Synthetic fuel is a generic term for any manufactured liquid fuel that is not derived from crude oil but has the same properties as fossil fuels.8 Whilst fossil fuels are formed over millions of years underground from organic matter that is turned into coal, natural gas, or oil, synthetic fuels are produced by mimicking these natural processes using renewable resources. They can be manufactured from biomass, electricity or direct solar energy. These fuels can be distributed through existing infrastructure and can be used in conventional engines.9 Care is needed to ensure their manufacture does not harm the environment, particularly where feedstocks are from crops grown specifically for this purpose, which may have caused the removal of a higher-value habitat such as a forest.
Hydrogen fuel can be produced through electrolysis using renewable electricity (green hydrogen). But predictions suggest that 84% of hydrogen in 2050 will be produced by reforming natural gas into hydrogen and CO2 (blue hydrogen), which will need to be accompanied by carbon capture and storage tehnology.30 Ammonia, like hydrogen, can be manufactured through electrolysis, but at the moment is a by-product of the carbon-intensive fertilizer industry.11
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
- Improved health:
- An increase in physical activity through more use of active travel could save the NHS £17bn nationally over 20 years due to disease reduction and lead to improved mental health and wellbeing.12
- Enhanced air quality from the switch to active travel and EVs can reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, asthma and various types of cancer.12
- Levelling-up society:
- Vulnerable and disadvantaged groups are more likely to rely on walking, cycling and public transport, including people with disabilities, lower wage earners, ethnic minorities, women and younger and older people. Improving access to active and sustainable travel will help these groups.12
- Transport is a large expenditure for households, particularly those in rural areas, and therefore reducing the need to travel can help to alleviate poverty.
- Relocalising services and providing digital connectivity will help rural communities access the support and services they need, especially those without a car.
- Economic prosperity:
- 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.13
- Investment in better streets and public spaces for pedestrians can boost footfall and trading by up to 40%.14
- Enhancing active travel in Devon could boost walking and cycle tourism.13
- 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
Making It Happen
Create thriving communities
The Thematic Hearing on Mobility heard that high car-based mobility has meant that many communities have lost local services. There is potential through an emphasis on relocalisation – development meeting local needs and creating opportunities to live, work and use services locally – to minimise the need to travel, reduce spend on transport requirements and reinvigorate communities. 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, as and when they arise, across Devon.
Enhance communications technology
The Thematic Hearings and Call for Evidence identified the need for enhanced digital connectivity to promote flexible and remote working patterns to reduce our need to travel. The response to the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of flexible working practices, which reduce GHG emissions in most cases.15
The Connecting Devon and Somerset Programme has made superfast broadband accessible to over 290,000 homes and businesses in the region. Phase 2 will deliver this to remaining hard to reach premises such as those on Dartmoor and Exmoor. This additional coverage means that 96% of Devon’s homes and businesses will have access to superfast-broadband by the end of 2024.16 We must enhance broadband access and speed that will enable people to work flexibly and access services remotely.
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
Making It Happen
Residents and visitors can be unsure of the options for travel around the County and often lack confidence walking and cycling due to safety concerns. 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 of the organisations already contributing to this.
Making Devon more active-travel friendly
Our settlements feel vehicle-dominated and the majority of our communities lack dedicated space for walking and cycling. There are significant benefits to reallocating road space to active travel (supported by 74% of the Devon Climate Assembly)17 – for example, the benefit-to-cost ratio of investing in cycling and walking schemes is 13:1 due to the public health and congestion benefits, plus cyclists’ shopping expenditure is on average greater than visitors by car because they tend to visit the shops more often.13
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). These will:18
- Provide a network plan for walking and cycling which identifies preferred routes and core zones for further development
- Design a prioritised programme of infrastructure improvements for future investment over the short, medium and long term.
- Ensure that consideration is given to cycling and walking within local and neighbourhood plans and transport policies and strategies.
- Make the case to government for future funding for walking and cycling infrastructure.
Whist Devon’s geography of dispersed towns and villages may seem a barrier to improving cycling infrastructure, in rural areas the idea of allocating some single-track lanes as ‘quiet ways’, that would prioritise active travel, along with electric bicycle schemes, have been popular in our consultations. The appropriateness of these can be considered in the LCWIPs.
Since the publication of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan, LCWIPs are being prepared for Plymouth, Torbay, Barnstaple and Bideford, Heart of Teignbridge and Exeter.
Most cars are only used for a small proportion of the day, with the average car parked for 80% of the time.19 Sharing vehicles frees-up road space for active and public transport modes. 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 to low carbon travel.
Bus is the main form of public transport in Devon.20 Approximately 80% of the local bus network is commercially operated, meaning the passenger numbers provide enough income to cover the costs of running the service. However, geographically the 80/20 proportions are reversed – without financial support, almost 80% of the County would be wholly or substantially without a bus service. To illustrate this, the extent of bus subsidisation by Devon County Council is shown in Figure 10.2.
Through the National Bus Strategy for England, the government aims to increase the importance of local bus services by making them more frequent, more reliable, easier to understand and use, better co-ordinated and cheaper.21 Lower fares are important to help provide equal opportunities to mobility for everyone.
Since the publication of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan, the three transport authorities in Devon have published Bus Service Improvement Plans (links to Plymouth City Council’s, Torbay Council’s and Devon County Council’s) in partnership with local bus operators. These reflect the National Bus Strategy and set out ambitions, plans and policies to improve bus services to achieve increased patronage.
It is vital that the existing level of service is maintained and opportunities for additional funding are seized to provide additional services and increase the frequency of existing routes.
The speed and reliability of services is also a deterrent, particularly during ‘rush hours’ when additional journey times are built into current timetables to reflect the higher levels of congestion.20 This situation can be improved by ensuring true bus priority on highways using bus lanes, bus-only streets and signalling.
Innovative models will be needed in rural areas to improve services. These include community-operated and voluntary sector transport, demand responsive transport (where vehicles alter their routes each journey based on particular transport demand without using a fixed route or timetabled journeys) and fare cars (a shared public transport service operated by Private Hire cars. This enables passengers to book and pay separately but share the advertised timetabled journeys). To be most effective, these need to be integrated into the public transport system to ensure they connect with other services.
Work on improving rail in the region is led by the Strategic Rail Sub Group of Peninsula Transport – a joint initiative by the five county and unitary local authorities in the area (Cornwall, Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay). It has identified three priorities:22
- A resilient and reliable railway: Protecting the coastal mainline is a top priority. Greater track capacity between Castle Cary and Exeter and along the Exeter to Waterloo line are also needed. This will facilitate trains being diverted in the event of line blockades on the main line via Taunton, and enable frequency increases serving Honiton and Cranbrook.
- Reducing journey times and better connectivity between London, the Midlands and the North. There needs to be infrastructure improvements and an introduction of modern rolling stock to replace the Cross Country Voyager fleet. In addition, there needs to be an increase in frequency of trains to a two-hourly semi-fast service from Paddington to Exeter initially, and then increased to hourly and extended from Exeter to Plymouth.
- Increasing capacity and comfort will transform the service for passengers. There needs to be an increase in the frequency of trains and the number of seats must meet forecasted passenger growth. There must be continuous, reliable and quality Wifi and mobile signal allowing users to be productive. Mainline services need to offer high-quality catering and increased luggage capacity.
Enabling more people to access the rail network is also important. New stations have been opened at Newcourt and Cranbrook in 2015. A further new station at Marsh Barton is under construction and a station for Edginswell was granted funding by government’s New Stations Fund in 2020. Daily passenger services returned to Okehampton in 2021 after nearly 50 years and plans are being explored through the Restoring Your Railway Fund to re-open Cullompton and Tavistock stations.
Further 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.
Needing action beyond Devon
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. These increases were largely sustained through June and July, despite the relaxation of ‘lockdown rules’.
In an attempt to maintain this trend and speed up progress in delivering strategic cycle routes in Exeter, Devon County Council used money made available through the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Fund to deliver several 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 in several locations across the County.
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, allowing further consultation and monitoring.
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, while maintaining mobility. Furthermore, 90% of the Assembly said that significant progress should be made on the provision of active and public transport infrastructure before proposals to discourage car use are introduced.17 However, this will be difficult to achieve. This is because new funding is required to put the active and public transport measures in place and many of the opportunities to discourage car use offer an opportunity to raise these funds. Therefore, measures to make car-use less attractive will be delivered alongside the alternatives.
Making It Happen
The Assembly (68%) suggested using a Tourist Levy – a common charge abroad paid by tourists – to raise funds to deliver sustainable transport initiatives. Any use of such charges will need careful consultation with the tourism sector and analysis of its likely effectiveness.
Under half of the Assembly said that parking charges (46%) and workplace parking levies (45%) – charges paid by businesses for each employee parking space they provide – should be used. Parking charges are already used to encourage active and public transport in Devon, with the money raised from on-street parking being ring-fenced by law for investment in further transport projects. This will continue. Whilst workplace parking levies were not favoured, employers should continue to be supported to encourage their employees to reduce car use, such as by promoting the existing Travel Devon Toolkit more widely.
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 higher support (62%). Assembly members were concerned about how these could be implemented fairly across Devon in ways that would not disadvantage people living in rural areas who had a greater reliance on private cars for mobility. Many members also suggested that the focus for generating funds should be from tourist users rather than locals who, they believed, already supported significant infrastructure for visitors.
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. The limited capacity of public transport to take bikes and the need to book a bike space ahead of a journey deter uptake, as does the lack of secure cycle storage at interchanges. The Thematic Hearing on Mobility heard that these multi-modal journeys are further frustrated by the need for multiple tickets, the risk of delays in one part of the journey making cheaper ‘advance’ tickets risky, or the need to allow extra time, leading to a longer journey.
Making It Happen
Multi-modal journeys can be made easier and more seamless through greater collaboration between transport providers and local authorities to offer integrated ticketing across travel modes, better coordination of timetables and ensuring that space is given for mobility hubs in new development. Mobility hubs offer easy interchange, such as co-located bus and train terminals, taxi ranks and shared EV and bike facilities, with good pedestrian access. This is already found at some of Devon’s train stations such as at Exeter St. David’s and Exeter Central.
Strategically-placed car parks on the edge of towns and cities could encourage car sharing or switching to active or public transport before entering town and city centres, reducing congestion within urban centres.
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
For smaller cars, vans and boats electrification is the front-running technology. Larger vehicles pose distinct challenges and are considered separately at Section 10.5.8.
The UK Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy expects to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, and that all new cars and vans will be zero emission at the tailpipe from 2035.23 Whilst sales of electric and hybrid cars (collectively known as ultra-low emission vehicles) have overtaken those of diesel-powered vehicles,24 this still represents just 0.5% of cars and vans licensed in Devon.25
Making It Happen
Already some models of electric car can do more than 300 miles on a single charge.26 The development of electric boats is further behind than cars and vans, yet Devon is pioneering the development of electric propulsion in small, commercial vessels,27 which includes the electrification of the Mount Batten Ferry.28 Small, electric, outboard motors have been used by anglers on inland waterways for many years and models that can compete with larger petrol alternatives are now coming to market.29 The range depends upon the type of vessel they are fitted to.
Range anxiety can be reduced by ensuring charging infrastructure is in place and 92% of the Devon Climate Assembly support this happening.17 The CCC estimate that 3,880 publicly-accessible chargers (22kW – 350kW) will be required in Devon by 2050 for cars and vans.30 A charging network for boats is required along Devon’s coasts to enable leisure and commercial craft not to have to return to the home-port to recharge. This would support residents and the wider economy, including tourism, to make the switch.
The CCC estimate that electric cars and vans will become cost-effective compared to petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and will be cheaper to run.30 In the meantime there is an opportunity for DCE partners to aggregate procurement of vehicles. This could reduce the cost of vehicles and charging infrastructure and would stimulate local markets and supply chains through providing volume.
The development of publicly-accessible charging networks for cars and vans is unlikely to be commercially viable in rural areas where demand is currently low and therefore subsidy support will be needed. The 3,880 publicly-accessible chargers will cost £5.4m per annum from now to 2050.30
Western Power Distribution (WPD) state that the existing electricity distribution network is likely to have the capacity to support charging of EVs at expected deployment rates with just minor local upgrades. Domestic chargers with 3kW capacity can be simply connected. It is estimated that around 239,000 households in Devon in 2050 would have this type of “slow” charger.30 From 2022, new homes, workplaces and supermarkets with parking spaces will have an electric vehicle charger installed as standard.31
EV Charging Strategies are required to coordinate the deployment of charging infrastructure. These strategies could be prepared for each local authority geography or at the Devon level. If the former, the strategies must integrate with each other. They would consider:
- The needs of different EV users.
- The variety of charging requirements and the appropriate speed of charger for each type of location.
- The potential for employers to encourage staff to purchase EVs through provision of workplace charging and other incentives such as dedicated parking spaces and salary sacrifice schemes.
Local authorities with responsibility for taxi licensing can accelerate the introduction of electric cars into taxi fleets by mandating ultra-low emissions vehicles, or by offering incentives such as licence fee discounts or extending their age limits.32 Exeter City Council, for example, already requires non-accessible Hackney Carriages to meet this requirement.33
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
UK aviation emissions have more than doubled since 1990, with 80% of journeys being for leisure.34 Tackling flying is particularly important as emissions at high altitude cause additional warming effects on the climate.
Making It Happen
Devon’s powers to act
Reductions in aviation emissions require national and international legislation, as well as individual behaviour change. Devon’s local authorities have limited powers to influence the agenda locally and there is a risk that attempting to constrain aviation in Devon without national action would lead to carbon leakage – i.e. residents would travel to use airports elsewhere which could increase total emissions.
Pathways to low carbon aviation
Currently there are no commercially-available zero-carbon planes.35 Long lifetimes of aircraft and the challenges in developing and deploying new technologies make decarbonising aviation by 2050 difficult. It will require action on engine and aircraft technology, airspace management and operations, sustainable fuels and demand reduction.34
Electrification is most suited for short-haul flights. The use of hydrogen and synthetic fuels are being developed by Airbus and Boeing for medium and long-haul travel.36
The CCC Further Ambition scenario expects residual aviation emissions to be offset by GHG removal. Devon has great potential to deliver natural GHG removal through habitat enhancement and creation, and land use changes. However, offsets will also be needed for other sectors and will be in competition with other uses for land. Therefore, offsetting aviation emissions may require utilising currently-underdeveloped forms of carbon capture and storage technologies.
Devon is well placed to support the acceleration of technology to enable zero-carbon aviation given its existing aerospace expertise and skills base,37 demonstrated by the trial of a hybrid flight between Exeter and Newquay38 Partners can raise awareness of the carbon impacts of aviation so that people can make the appropriate choice for their circumstances.
T4. 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
Making It Happen
Reduce mileage of freight
There are opportunities for logistics improvements for freight which could reduce heavy goods vehicle (HGV) mileage by 10% nationally.34 Opportunities include optimally-locating distribution centres and new collaborations between companies to promote co-loading. These require new ways of businesses working together and in some cases subsidies to make them cost effective.35 Facilitating collaboration between hauliers and supporting them with the required infrastructure will be important.
Modal shift of freight
Within urban areas freight can be distributed from consolidation centres using more sustainable modes, such as electric cargo bikes. Local partners can facilitate trials of such approaches.
Rail is currently the lowest-carbon form of transport for long-distance freight35 as one freight train can remove up to 76 trucks from the road, but infrastructure availability limits its scope locally. Grants are available from government to support the moving of freight from road to rail but grants are no longer available for capital costs for infrastructure.40 Devon can collaborate with regional and national bodies to work with government for greater support for rail freight. In the meantime, there is a danger that in the absence of demand Devon loses rail infrastructure, such as rail-side warehousing, that will be valuable in the future. The needs of future rail freight should be considered in spatial planning strategies.
Canals and waterways are unlikely regain their historical importance for freight movement, but may have an increased role to play in specific circumstances e.g. for construction 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.
Needing action beyond Devon
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
Individual needs of larger vehicles such as heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses, trains, ships and agricultural machinery will lend themselves to different future technologies.
All HGV sales will need to be low-emission varieties from 2040. For small-rigid HGVs electrification is likely to be the appropriate technology, though for larger-rigid and articulated HGVs hydrogen will be an option, as will synthetic fuels. The cost for the UK to provide hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is between £3 — £16 billion.30
Low emission buses will make up 80% of sales by 2050. Like HGVs, electrification, hydrogen and synthetic fuels are likely options. With electric buses, operation and scheduling become more difficult since they have less route flexibility. Furthermore, the limited battery range and the potential need for top-up charging on routes can create a need for extra buses, and hence increased costs, which will need national government support.41 It will be important to match the right fuel with the operational requirements of the network. Hydrogen buses store large quantities of energy, which can make them well-suited to longer routes.42
The government has challenged the rail industry to remove diesel-only powered passenger trains by 2040. The Rail Industry Decarbonisation Taskforce believes this is possible and reports that all diesel powered passenger trains can be removed by 2050. They favour battery, electric and hydrogen technologies. Each has different technical capabilities which mean that not all are suitable for all types of rail services. In Devon, the mainlines and the Paignton branch line are expected to be electrified. Trains on the Gunnislake branch line are tipped to be battery powered, whilst the Barnstaple and Exmouth lines are forecast for hydrogen propulsion. Timescales for these initial proposals have yet to be developed. A solution for the Okehampton line, only recently fully reopened, has not been suggested. Freight trains are predicted to make use of electrified lines for most of their journey and use a battery shunting locomotive for the first and last miles of their journey along lines that are not electrified.39
Shipping needs a solution to provide power for weeks at a time but still leave plenty of room for cargo. Ammonia is the favoured technology because, unlike hydrogen, it doesn’t have to be stored in high-pressure tanks and provides ten-times the energy density of a lithium battery.11 Commercial port facilities e.g. at Plymouth, Brixham, Teignmouth and Appledore, would need to provide fuel storage.
Agricultural machinery has a less certain technology path. Electrification could be problematic because an electricity supply able to support quick charging may not be available in deep rural areas, yet models exist that have an electric cable to plug into the grid rather than relying on batteries. Manufacturers are also developing biomethane (which can be produced on farm), hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen combustion options.43
Making It Happen
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 (for which Devon is already a leader for marine technology) 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.
Griffiths, Devon County Council’s contractor on the North Devon Link Road, has run one of the country’s first trials with a synthetic fuel, called hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), in its diesel construction vehicles. HVO is a “green diesel” made from waste vegetable fats and hydrogen – it produces up to 90% less CO2 than regular diesel and can reduce emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxide by 44% and 11% respectively44 – both contributors to poor air quality.
Griffiths Project Manager Hedley Martin said: “The experience has been extremely positive for everyone involved, knowing we are doing our bit to reduce the emissions makes us feel very proud. We were also impressed with the Health and Safety benefits that the fuel delivered. Our onsite Plant Operatives have experienced a more pleasant working environment with better air quality since the machines have been operating on HVO fuel.”
The company aims to roll out the fuel to 50% of its sites by the end of 2022 and to the remainder by end of March 2023.
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. Firstly, some of the 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. Secondly, some actions were highlighted as being important by the 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.
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3 Devon County Council (2020) Planetary and Human Health: Public Health Annual Report 2019-20. Available at: https://www.devonhealthandwellbeing.org.uk/aphr/2019-20/
4 Climate Change Committee (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/
5 Department for Transport (2021) Decarbonising Transport – A Better, Greener Britain. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transport-decarbonisation-plan
6 Calculated by Devon County Council’s Environment Group
7 Capellan-Pereza, I. et al. (2019) Dynamic Energy Return on Energy Investment (EROI) and material requirements in scenarios of global transition to renewable energies, Energy Strategy Reviews, 26, 100399. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esr.2019.100399
8 Cleveland, C. and Morris, C. (2015) Dictionary of Energy (Second Edition). Elsevier.
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10 Blain, L. (2021) Green ammonia electrolysis breakthrough could finally kill Haber-Bosch. New Atlas. Available at: https://newatlas.com/energy/green-ammonia-phosphonium-production/
11 Gallucci, M. (2021) Why the shipping industry is betting on ammonia. IEEE Spectrum. Available at: https://spectrum.ieee.org/why-the-shipping-industry-is-betting-big-on-ammonia
12 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
13 Cycling UK (2016) Cycling and the Economy. Available at: https://www.cyclinguk.org/campaigning/views-and-briefings/cycling-and-economy
14 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
15 Lash, D. (2021) Assessing the Greenhouse Gases Emissions of Home Working versus Commuting to an Office, Centre for Energy and Environment, University of Exeter. Available at: https://www.devonclimateemergency.org.uk/studies-and-data/greenhouse-gas-emissions-of-home-working-vs-office-working/
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18 Department for Transport (2017) Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure – Technical Guidance for Local Authorities. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/908535/cycling-walking-infrastructure-technical-guidance-document.pdf
19 RAC Foundation (2012) Spaced out: perspectives on parking policy. Available at: http://www.racfoundation.org/research/mobility/spaced-out-perspectives-on-parking
20 Devon County Council (2021) Devon County Council Bus Service Improvement Plan. Available at: https://www.traveldevon.info/bus/bsip/
21 Department for Transport (2021) Bus Back Better: The National Bus Strategy for England. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bus-back-better
22 Peninsula Transport (Unknown) Rail Priorities. Available at: https://www.peninsulatransport.org.uk/rail-priorities/
23 Department for Transport (2022) UK Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-electric-vehicle-infrastructure-strategy
24 BBC News (2021) Electric vehicle sales outpace diesel again. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58100474
25 Department for Transport (2020) Vehicle Licensing Statistics. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/vehicles-statistics
26 Wilkinson, L. (2022) The longest range electric cars of 2022. Car Magazine. Available at: https://www.carmagazine.co.uk/electric/longest-range-electric-cars-ev/
27 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
28 Mount Batten Ferry (2021) Mount Batten Ferry Service Goes Electric. Available at: https://www.mountbattenferry.co.uk/mountbatten-ferry-service-goes-electric/
29 Motorboat & Yachting (2021) E-Motion 180: World’s most powerful electric outboard takes aim at petrol rivals. Available at: https://www.mby.com/gear/e-motion-180-most-powerful-electric-outboard-117155
30 Lash, D. et al. (2020) Net Zero Devon, Plymouth and Torbay. Centre for Energy and the Environment, University of Exeter. Available at: https://www.devonclimateemergency.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/DPT-net-zero-report-v1-140820.pdf
31 Race, M. (2021) New homes in England to have electric car chargers by law. BBC News. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59369715
32 Local Government Association (2021) Electric Vehicle Taxi transition. Available at: https://www.local.gov.uk/case-studies/electric-vehicle-taxi-transition
33 Exeter City Council (2020) Vehicle applications and renewals. Available at: https://exeter.gov.uk/licensing/taxis-and-private-hire/vehicle-applications-and-renewals/
34 Committee on Climate Change (2019) Net Zero Technical Report. Available at: https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/net-zero-technical-report/
35 Allwood, J. M. et al. (2019). Absolute Zero. Available at: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.46075
36 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/
37 Think UK South West (2018) Europe’s Aerospace Powerhouse. Available at: https://heartofswlep.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/European-Aerospace-Powerhouse.pdf
38 Mills, F. (2021) England’s first demo flight of a hybrid electric plane flies from Exeter to Newquay. Devon Live. Available at:https://www.devonlive.com/news/englands-first-demo-flight-hybrid-5828039
39 Network Rail (2020) Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy. Interim Programme Business Case. Available at: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Traction-Decarbonisation-Network-Strategy-Interim-Programme-Business-Case.pdf
40 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
41 Aldenius, M. (2022) Electric buses in England and Sweden – Overcoming barriers to introduction. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 104. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trd.2022.103204
42 Mayor of London (2021) Mayor launches England’s first hydrogen double decker buses. Available at: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/englands-first-hydrogen-double-deckers-launched
43 Farmers Weekly (2021) JCB’s hydrogen-fuelled combustion engine examined. Available at: https://www.fwi.co.uk/machinery/technology/jcbs-hydrogen-fuelled-combustion-engine-examined
44 Lakanen, L. et al. (2021) Applying the handprint approach to assess the air pollutant reduction potential of paraffinic renewable diesel fuel in the car fleet of the city of Helsinki. Journal of Cleaner Production. 290. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.125786