What does Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan mean?

Maria Machancoses from Midlands Connect explains the importance of translating the Government’s ambitious plans into deliverable action, so that net zero transport by 2050 can become a reality:

“As CEO of transport research body Midlands Connect, linking the East Midlands to the West Midlands and developing transport infrastructure is always at the forefront of my mind. From road to rail, the Government must now work closely with industry and the private sector to ensure that these exciting sustainable transport changes happen. Government’s support for rail electrification in this new report was welcome, as electrifying the Midland Mainline, which runs trains between Sheffield and London via Nottingham and Leicester, is long overdue.

Electrification means the end of diesel journeys, which will be replaced by clean, decarbonised rail with improved performance and lower running costs. It is vital that we next see a firm commitment to the electrification of the Midland Mainline, when the long awaited Integrated Rail Plan is published later this year. Rail electrification doesn’t just mean better journeys – it means better and more well paid jobs too.

Indeed Government predicts that up to 3,000 highly specialised jobs in Overhead Line Electrification could be created. Rail electrification work in England has been inconsistent until now, making it difficult to retain skills and long-term quality jobs but with promises now made to establish a rolling programme of electrification, employment opportunities look bright for the Midlands. The East Midlands is home to the largest cluster of rail supply chain businesses on the Continent, as well as major rail innovation programmes like the Melton Rail Innovation and Development Centre.

Rail electrification would strengthen industry’s relationship with these organisations, bringing economic regeneration to the wider area, as the materials required would be manufactured locally. With the East Midlands a part of the ‘golden triangle’ of freight operations, recently strengthened by Government’s investment in the East Midlands Freeport, it’s vital that we act now to ensure road and rail freight is equipped with zero carbon alternative fuels and electric vehicle charging. The Midlands is home to more than a third of the country’s warehouse space and accounts for 40% of the region’s GVA.

For this reason, Midlands Connect recommends our region leads on equipping electric as well as Hydrogen cars and HGVs of the future with a cutting edge vehicle charging network. To achieve net zero carbon emissions from all modes of transport by 2050, it’s important that Government gives the green light to these vital infrastructure improvements in the Midlands without delay. I look forward to the benefits these changes will have for our region and our environment for years to come.”

Maria Machancoses commented on the Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Strategy, which is available to view here.