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Blog Post 24 May 2022 Updated 30 January 2024

Local authority toolkit: guidance on reducing emissions from transport in England

Location notice

Please note that this page contains information and links most relevant for people living in England.

Why do we need to change the way we travel?

If we are to meet our 2050 net zero goal, we all need to change how we think about travel. 

Transport is the single biggest contributor to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the UK, making up 34% of all emissions in 2022, mostly from road transport. 

While the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on UK roads continues to increase – up from 10,000 in 2010 to 941,692 (or 1,456,900 for all vehicles with a plug) as of December 2023.

At Energy Saving Trust, we are continually making efforts to promote the use of EVs and other low carbon transport options. We’re working with the Department for Transport to bring in new measures that will help make our roads and travel less polluting. 

How are we helping to decarbonise transport?

To reach net zero, we need strong local leadership from local organisations, who are often best placed to make the right decisions and to deliver the appropriate changes for their area. 

In 2021-22, we partnered with the Department for Transport to produce the transport decarbonisation: local authority toolkit, to help local councils identify and understand the actions they could take to decarbonise transport in their area, and the impact that different projects could have. 

We created a set of infographics based on the key messages and actions identified in the local authority toolkit. The infographics identify the reasons for action, and help develop understanding of the steps needed to enable a successful scheme to develop. 


Toolkit infographic

What is the transport decarbonisation: local authority toolkit?

The local authority toolkit provides guidance on planning and delivering measures to reduce carbon emissions from transport in England. The toolkit highlights the benefits of a range of approaches but encourages councils to consider only those that are appropriate to their local area and the needs of the local population. It sets out the key actions for local authorities and identifies case studies of schemes that are already delivering benefits. 

The toolkit covers nine different interventions that local authorities could implement, including active travel, car clubs, freight and deliveries, and demand responsive transport. It also contains specific guidance for rural authorities on how approaches are already being successfully implemented. 

You can access a recording from the launch of the LA Toolkit here

The toolkit sits alongside other transport decarbonisation support to help local authorities. This includes: 

  • The formation of Active Travel England (ATE). This is a government executive agency responsible for improving the standards of cycling and walking infrastructure in England. 
  • The publication of the EV infrastructure strategy. This strategy sets out a roadmap for the implementation of EV infrastructure across the UK. 
  • The launch of the Local EV Infrastructure (LEVI) fund, which we administer alongside our partners Cenex and PA Consulting.  

Later this year, the Department for Transport will publish updated Local Transport Plan (LTP) guidance for authorities in England, which will set out how quantifiable carbon reductions must be included in LTPs, making this a fundamental part of local transport planning and funding. 

It will support local transport authorities to bring their LTPs in line with current government priorities, including decarbonisation, and help improve delivery of local transport services for transport users. 

What’s in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan?

During the summer of 2021, the UK Government published its Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which sets out how the UK’s transport sector can decarbonise and reduce emissions on the path to net zero. 

The transport decarbonisation plan sets out the UK Government’s aim, and the actions needed to decarbonise transport in the UK. It recognises that there is no single approach to decarbonising transport across the UK. 

The plan sets out a ‘place-based’ approach to transport decarbonisation, to ensure that our villages, towns, and cities are cleaner, greener, healthier, and more prosperous places to live and work. This approach focuses on the idea that local problems are best addressed by local organisations or communities than by national governments. 

Solutions need to be local and respond to the needs of residents, to help them use less carbon intensive forms of transport. Across the country, each place will have its own role to play and its own suite of appropriate solutions to ensure we can achieve net zero by 2050. 

Last updated: 30 January 2024