I was delighted to be a panellist at last week's Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum conference on “Next steps for transport decarbonisation in London”.

The whole session was very interesting and it was refreshing to have so many contributions looking at positive ways to tackle decarbonisation of the transport sector in London, which is key to reaching the Mayor of London’s goal of net-zero carbon by 2030. I took away a number of key points, including:

  • Collaboration is fundamental.  There are a number of key stakeholders who need to collaborate together to achieve the reach and pace of change needed and collaboration across stakeholders can make a big difference to the scope of a project and associated carbon savings.  A good example of this is the approach taken by First Bus at its Caledonia depot, where we advised on a pilot project allowing other EV fleets to use the UK’s largest electric vehicle charging hub.
  • Bringing the public along on the decarbonisation journey by encouraging incremental change is essential.  Behaviour change will not happen overnight, and suggestions must be easily adoptable.  We need to do a better job of emphasising the positive impact of changes to routines and habits.  We need to excite the public and bring them on the journey, rather than telling them about something that's happening to them.
  • There are funding challenges, both at an infrastructure investment level and for individual consumers, that must be overcome.  At a project level, knowledgeable funders who know and understand the market are essential.  We are seeing funders come forward with products and structures to facilitate innovative projects.  A good example is our work with the Mayor of London’s Energy Efficiency Fund. We are also seeing private sector investment into City-wide decarbonisation programmes, such as Bristol City Leap.
  • Decarbonising the transport infrastructure in London is also about future proofing. Innovative solutions also need to consider climate change adaptation, including considering flooding risk and global warming.
  • Sharing knowledge can allow a quicker pace of change – the scale in London is unique, but other cities are grappling with the same issues.  Learning from others in terms of best practice is essential if we are to decarbonise at the rate needed. 
  • An understanding of the regulatory environment is key; both transport and energy are heavily regulated sectors and navigating those regulatory requirements can be complex. The regulatory environment is fast moving and it is really important to build appropriate risk mitigation into project structures.

Our Net Zero team is working on a range of innovative Net Zero projects in the transport sector.  Please do get in touch with the team to find our more.