Green Mobility Policy Briefing – April 15 2022

Covered in this Green Mobility Policy Briefing: Ireland’s new sustainable mobility policy; Barcelona’s investment in electric buses; the UK’s 2024 zero emission vehicle mandate; Andy Burnham’s transport reforms hit roadblocks; NGOs call on EU to reduce speed limits to diminish Russian oil consumption and improve air quality.

Ireland’s new Sustainable Mobility Policy. Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton have announced The Sustainable Mobility Policy which sets the framework for active travel and public transport in Ireland to 2030. Its focus is to decarbonize by catering to everyday travel in a more sustainable manner. The press release states the policy provides support for Ireland’s goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to half by 2030. The overall goal of The Sustainable Mobility Policy is to make walking, cycling and public transport the easier option over a petrol or diesel car. The Policy will be implemented in other government departments such as the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland. – By Kloudia Sakowski

In line with sustainable development goals, TMB launch a tender for Barcelona’s largest order of electric buses. In agreement with the Autoritat del Transport Metropolità (AMT), Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) announced the opening of a tender process to acquire up to 83 electric buses on April 5th. The €58.3 million budget of the tender accounts initially for 65 fully electric and zero-emission vehicles, potentially rising to 83 depending on available funding. The vehicles are expected to be delivered between April and September 2023, bringing TMB’s total electric fleet to 200 buses. Once the supporting charging infrastructure is in place, TMB are confident of achieving the goals set out in the Strategic Plan for 2025, which targets a 17,000 tonne reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025. With these strategic upgrades, TMB’s target for public transport to cater for 65% of motorised city journeys by 2025, is substantially elevated. The announcement comes as the broader global trend of incorporating sustainable transport into regional planning processes gathers pace. The 2021 announcement of the UK’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan has stimulated funding in excess of £198 million for 943 zero-emission buses for 12 local transport authorities, through the ZEBRA scheme. – By Sam Phelps.

Electric vehicle registrations have significantly increased over the past few years. The introduction of the EV Mandate will likely further existing trends. Click on image for a link to an RAC article on the UK’s road to electric – charts and data.

The UK will introduce a Zero Emission Vehicle mandate for auto manufacturers in 2024. In preparation for the UK’s 2030 ban on new pure petrol and diesel car and van sales, the order will make it essential for car manufacturers to produce a certain number of zero-emission cars and vans. According to this press release, it is predicted that by 2024, 22% of automaker’s car sales will be required to be zero-emission, then this will rise to 80% in 2030 before the mandate finally demands zero emissions by 2035. However, the exact plans are still yet to be confirmed. After pledging to do so in the recent Net-Zero Strategy, the Department for Transport is currently undergoing a consultation until the 10 of June to decide the exact plans of this mandate. Until then, the transport sector continues to accelerate climate change, producing roughly a quarter of the UK’s total emissions. – By Georgia King

Andy Burnham puts Manchester’s transport reforms into the next gear, but struggles remain on the road ahead. In March, Andy Burnham’s transport upgrades got their biggest boost yet, when a judge at the Royal Courts of Justice ruled in favour of major bus reforms. The judge ruled against the private bus providers, Stagecoach and Rotach, which currently operate buses and could’ve blocked the return to public control.  What’s the significance of the ruling? It removes a major barrier for Burnham, providing legal justification to take further control of fares, services, and routes while proceeding with the planned integration of public transport into the low-carbon bee network. The ruling sets a precedent for other Metro Mayors aiming to follow Burnham’s example. Although the private companies signalled they might appeal, Burnham has pleaded with them to ‘let us crack on and give the people what they want’. The road ahead for Burnham is not straight-forward. Another obstacle is the cost, on 4th April the government announced £1.7 billion investment in Greater Manchester’s transport, which Burnham welcomed as ‘a vote of confidence’. On face value this sounds generous, but with capital costs included (which Westminster refused to cover), that’s £600 million lost. Factoring in the £400 million to improve and electrify buses and £30 million for other miscellaneous needs like ticketing it’s obvious that £1.7 billion might not be enough.  Andy Burnham faces a bumpier ride ahead than he might’ve wanted, but his transport reforms are at least heading in the right direction. Indeed, the future of public transport in Greater Manchester has never looked so positive. – By Ed Holt.

Reduce Speed Limits to Reduce Dependence on Russian Oil, Improve Air Quality – NGOs. The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) together with six other organisations including the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), Clean Cities Campaign (CCC), and Transport & Environment (T&E), have written to the European Commissioners responsible for Climate Action, Energy, Environment and Transport, calling for a reduction of speed limits to reduce the consumption of, and dependence on, Russian oil. In their letter, the signatories point to an International Energy Agency (IEA) press release which suggests that ‘that reducing highway speeds for cars and vans by just 10 km/h could save 290,000 barrels of oil a day, and an additional 140,000 barrels a day from trucks.’ Additionally, the authors point to historical precedence, such as the US’ introduction of national speed limits in the 1974 Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act, and local air pollution and sustainability argument in their appeal. Calls to reduce speed limits are not new. In 2020, the European Environmental Agency stated that ‘introducing lower speed limits on motorways is expected to cut both fuel consumption and pollutant emissions’, a position echoed by numerous private studies, such as this one from Madrid. – By Thomas J Hayden-Lefebvre.

Calling All Green Start-ups! The organisers of the Green Future Conference (9th and 10th of June) have announced a start-up challenge for start-ups in the field of sustainable developments. 20 start-ups will be shortlisted by a panel of innovative business leaders and experts and will be invited to participate in a Challenge Day (8th of June). During the Challenge Day, start-ups will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel on stage, receive feedback, and participate in workshops organised by Infobip, Business Psychology Lab, and the Department of Science and Innovation of the University of Split. Moreover, shortlisted start-ups will pitch their ideas to a live audience during the Green Future Conference. The start-up voted best by the expert panel will receive a prize of USD 10,000. There is another prize pool of USD 50,000 – Green Communication Awards – to be awarded in Infobip services, namely USD 25,000 for 1st place, USD 15,000 for 2nd place and USD 10,000 for 3rd place. Interested start-ups can apply before the 5th of May 2022 and the start-ups that make the shortlist will be notified by 15 May. -By Partner Content.