Transport Decarbonisation Plan publication imminent?

Transport Decarbonisation Plan publication due imminently

Publication of the long-delayed Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP) is said to be imminent, according to a source within the Department for Transport (DfT).

It follows multiple hold-ups and brief speculation in June that the Plan would not be released until the autumn. At a Westminster Hall debate on 16 June, Under-Secretary of State for Transport Rachel Maclean told MPs that a final draft had been produced but revealed that she was “not satisfied” with it “because it [did not] meet the ambition we need” to reach government targets for decarbonisation.

At that time, Ms McLean said that she “could not give a date” by which the TDP would be published, but she added that MPs “would not be disappointed” with its contents. A DfT spokesperson told routeone on 12 July that the Department “could not speculate” on the suggestion that the Plan is to be published shortly. It was originally due to be released in 2020.

The TDP will define how the government sets policies and plans to transition to a net zero transport system. Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps has already outlined that one of the TDP’s objectives will be to make public transport and active travel “the natural first choice” for daily activities, and that all road vehicles will become zero-emission.

Separately, the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) says that it is “crucial” that a focus on fewer car journeys is at the centre of the TDP and that the Plan must include a clear strategy to transfer people onto coach and bus services.

A four-point plan issued by CPT calls on the government to ensure that the Transport Decarbonisation Plan:

  • Helps to deliver bus priority measures to make journeys quicker and more reliable and to encourage greater use
  • Sets out a clear and realistic roadmap for the decarbonisation of coach and bus fleets and recognises the need for ongoing government investment in the years ahead
  • Investigates how to implement a transparent road pricing scheme that exempts vehicles including coaches and buses
  • Joins up policies across government to ensure that decisions on everything from the planning of new housing developments to promoting domestic attractions always makes it easier for people to choose more sustainable transport modes.

CPT Head of Policy Alison Edwards says that the government must also set out exactly what funding will be available to coach and bus operators, and when, so they can plan future vehicle investments – but she adds that when doing so, ministers should consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector.