New transport guidance for a climate smart COVID-19 recovery


The Local Government Association has launched new advice developed by experts at the University of Leeds on practical actions local authorities can take to decarbonise transport.

While most sectors have reduced their carbon emissions in recent years, emissions from transport have remained stubbornly high, and radical changes are now needed if the UK is to meet our target of zero carbon emissions from surface transport by 2050.

All areas of the UK must act rapidly to reduce transport emissions to zero, although different places will require different solutions. Governments who fail to deliver on their climate commitments may even face legal action, as the successful legal challenge to the third runway at Heathrow airport shows.

The Local Government Association (LGA) commissioned a team led by Professor Greg Marsden and Professor Jillian Anable, both from the Institute for Transport Studies at Leeds, to develop the policy briefings.

Priorities for the briefings were developed in collaboration with councillors and officers from 27 local authorities, at workshops which took place in London and Leeds in early 2020 before the Covid-19 lockdown began.

Our work shows what councils can do today to help cut climate emissions and improve the places where we live and work.”

Professor Greg Marsden, Institute for Transport Studies

The briefings offer timely guidance to councils on how transport decarbonisation can support a climate-smart recovery. Councillor David Renard, Chairman of the LGA's Environment, Economy, Housing & Transport Board, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to revaluate how our transport networks operate but they have not altered our commitment to reaching net zero.

"Recovery from the crisis must be compatible with our decarbonisation ambitions and our briefing notes are mindful of both the new reality we are in and the opportunity we can grasp as part of a green recovery.”

Professor Greg Marsden, who led the project and is the director of the DecarboN8 network, said: “Different councils face different transport challenges, but everywhere has to act - and to act now. We cannot continue to pass the buck to our neighbours or to the next generation.

“Our work shows what councils can do today to help cut climate emissions and improve the places where we live and work.

“Anyone who wants to see these changes in their area can play a role by contacting their council to tell them about the briefings and ask what is being done locally to deliver a climate smart recovery from COVID-19.”

Seven webinars have been organised to launch the briefing notes. While the webinars are only open to LGA members all briefings can be read for free on the LGA website.

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For additional information contact University of Leeds press officer Anna Harrison at