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York & North Yorkshire Emissions Reduction Pathways

Transport graphic from the Emission Reduction Pathways document
Transport graphic from the Emission Reduction Pathways document

York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (YNY LEP) and West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) published a report about Emission Reduction Pathways in February 2021.

It sets out how York & North Yorkshire can reach Net Zero by 2038.

Key Findings

Current emissions at the time of the YNY LEP report
Current emissions at the time of the YNY LEP report

Transport is the largest emitting sector, at 38% of the total, and 95% of transport emissions are from roads. Agriculture is the next-biggest emitting sector.

The report models four different pathways:

  • Baseline, based on current policies: this results in a 30% cut in greenhouse gases (GHG) by 2038
  • Max Ambition: results in an 86% reduction in GHG by 2038
  • High Hydrogen: 74% reduction in GHG
  • Balanced: 68% reduction

It is important to note that none of the pathways results in Net Zero by 2038.

‘Without BECCS negative emissions…no pathway reaches net-zero and the emissions remaining in 2038 are 1.1-2.5MtCO2e/yr depending on the scenario.’

P15 of the YNY LEP emissions reduction pathways report

BECCS is Bio-Energy Carbon Capture and Storage. The hope is that Drax will burn biomass and use CCS to capture the carbon, and this will amount to 20% of negative emissions by 2038.

The whole strategy is relying on it to help achieve Net Zero, but the report admits (p16):

  • there is significant uncertainty over timeframes
  • there is no firm policy to support CCS
  • there is no funding for CCS infrastructure

It is fair to say that this element of the strategy is not built on firm foundations, because the authors of the report have no idea if Drax will be able to provide these very significant negative emissions. It amounts to wishing on a star.

To put this in further context, the report envisages that the region will breach its remaining carbon budget by 2027, then be rescued by Drax.

‘N+W Yorkshire’s carbon budget is 134 MtCO2 2018-2100, and the combined region breaches this in 2027, but cumulative net emissions fall in the 2030s (due to negative emissions measures).’

p18 of the YNY LEP’s emissions reduction pathways document

That is not a strategy, it’s closing your eyes and hoping for the best.

The Max Ambition scenario comes closest to doing what is needed, but requires leadership.

‘The Max Ambition scenario has the lowest cumulative and annual emissions, but requires highly ambitious leadership and policy to drive extensive change across the economy.’

p19 of the emissions reduction pathways document

A roadmap shows timelines for implementation of major measures.

Summary Roadmap for emissions reduction
Summary Roadmap for emissions reduction

These are the key recommendations on transport.

Key Recommendations on Transport
Key Recommendations on Transport

There is also an Action Plan for Transport.

Action Plan for Transport
Action Plan for Transport

And there’s a Summary Table for Transport.

Summary Table for Transport
Summary Table for Transport

Emissions Reduction Pathway for Transport

Current emissions are 2.9MtCO2e/year, and 95% of that figure is road transport.

Baseline

Under current policies (Baseline scenario), emissions decrease by:

  • 23% by 2030 and
  • 41% by 2038

Max Ambition

Under Max Ambition, transport emissions decrease by:

  • 56% by 2030 and
  • 87% by 2038

(This is therefore not Net Zero by 2038).

In Max Ambition, private car use reduces by 48% by 2030 (p6).

Reduction in private car use, max ambition
Reduction in private car use, max ambition

Some of this is due to reductions in travel demand, but the rest is achieved by shifting car trips to public, shared and active travel.

Shifting car trips to more sustainable modes
Shifting car trips to more sustainable modes

The graphic below shows how reductions are achieved by 2030.

Reductions in transport emissions under Max Ambition
Reductions in transport emissions under Max Ambition

High Hydrogen and Balanced

Under these scenarios, transport emissions reduce by:

  • 44% by 2030 and
  • 75% by 2038

Private car use is reduced by:

  • 30% by 2030 and
  • 44% by 2038
Reduction in private car use, High Hydrogen and Balanced
Reduction in private car use, High Hydrogen and Balanced

Roadmap for Transport

Roadmap for Transport
Roadmap for Transport

The roadmap for transport shows cycling km increasing by 2 to 3x by 2025, and car use 20-40% lower by 2030.

Policies and Actions

Cross-Cutting Policies

One of the cross-cutting policies identified is to run a major publicity and engagement campaign (p126).

Others relate to planning. They include reallocating road space to cycle infrastructure, and creating 15 minute neighbourhoods.

Some of the cross-cutting policies
Some of the cross-cutting policies

Transport Policies and Actions

‘Reducing car travel is an important measure underpinning all decarbonisation pathways which will require an integrated, sustainable transport system to achieve’

transport policies and actions, p130
Transport policies and actions
Transport policies and actions

‘…[L]ocal and regional authorities must use a combination of measures to discourage car use supported by improvements to shared, active and public transport – and the interchanges between them – to deliver their climate ambitions.’

transport policies and actions

There’s an action plan for transport.

Action Plan for Transport
Action Plan for Transport

Some of the notable elements in the Action Plan are:

  • develop an overarching strategy for road space reallocation
  • develop a region-wide cycling and walking strategy
  • run a major publicity campaign to encourage behaviour change
  • implement 20mph zones
  • work with partners to limit road-building

There are 8 tables of transport policies, some of which echo the points in the Action Plan. These are just a few of the more important or interesting ones:

  • develop an overarching strategy for road space reallocation
  • limit new road-building
  • develop a region-wide parking strategy that discourages private car use, including reducing on-street parking
  • develop and implement a region-wide cycling and walking strategy
  • expand cycle parking provision, including at rail and bus stations
  • mixed use developments that can be 15 minute neighbourhoods
  • low access to private car parking in new developments
  • establish a framework that ensures that transport emissions reduction goals are considered in strategic decisions, plans and policies
  • traffic circulation plans for key city centres to reduce through traffic and confine traffic to defined routes
  • 20mph limits on all residential roads and appropriate major roads

The last one I’ll highlight is from table 8/8 on p139.

‘Halt or limit increases in highway capacity primarily aimed at enhancing capacity for private cars, and redistribute funds to active and public transport.’

Table 8/8, p139
York & North Yorkshire Emissions Reduction Pathways

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