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Monday, January 27, 2020

Nottingham Climate Emergency: Council’s zero-carbon target means only electric vehicles in the city by 2028

A draft plan, which was approved unanimously yesterday (Monday, January 13) will now go out for public consultation.

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Nearly every vehicle currently on the roads of Nottingham will need to be replaced within just eight years if the city council is to meet its own zero-carbon target.

Nottingham City Council hopes to be the first in the UK to become carbon neutral and has now produced a plan on how it intends to do this by 2028.

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Several actions are planned, including having all domestic heating from renewable energy or low-carbon sources, enforcing energy efficiency standards, further public transport improvements and expanding local energy creation.

The council already has a growing fleet of its own electric cars, but details are scant about how the council plans to facilitate a move away from petrol and diesel engines for regular motorists, and it has admitted that the scale of the change needed is ‘enormous’.

A draft plan, which was approved unanimously yesterday (Monday, January 13) will now go out for public consultation.

On the issue of removing petrol and diesel engines (Known as internal combustion engines or ICEs) it says: “To achieve the 2028 carbon neutrality ambition, it will be necessary to almost entirely replace existing fossil-fuel-based Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles with ULEVs (ultra-low-emission vehicles).

“Recent research suggests that the lifetime carbon emissions of ULEVs are half those of a conventional vehicle, with more efficient electric vehicles saving on the carbon produced in the batteries in just two or three years.”

As well as an action plan, the council also passed its own Carbon Neutral Charter, which expands on the council’s green ambitions.

On the issue of removing ICEs, it says: “To achieve the 2028 carbon neutrality ambition, it will be necessary to almost entirely replace existing fossil-fuel based ICE vehicles with ULEVs.

“The majority of these ULEVs will need to be electric vehicles, with the remainder likely to be fuel-cells or other variants. This would immediately benefit the city’s carbon target.

“Considering the wider emissions not included in the main target, there have been concerns around the impact of the total lifetime footprint of new electric vehicles due to manufacturing, particularly of their batteries.

“However, recent research suggests that the lifetime carbon emissions of ULEVs are half those of a conventional vehicle, with more efficient electric vehicles saving on the carbon produced in the batteries in just two or three years.

“Out of the 108,000 vehicles registered in Nottingham, there are only 458 ULEVs, less than 0.5 per cent of the total.

“Whilst there won’t be the same number of ULEVs required as of today’s current number of vehicles, the scale of this change is still enormous.

“In addition to the electrification of privately owned cars, a large shift away from the use of single-occupancy car trips towards public transport will be required.”

Nationally, the Government plans to ban sales of all diesel and petrol vehicles in 2040 – 12 years after the city council’s target date.

Councillor Sally Longford is the portfolio holder for energy, environment and democratic Services, and represents Lenton and Wollaton East for Labour.

She said: “We need to talk to everyone, we need to hear what people from every part of the city have to say about this vital issue. All generations, from different backgrounds.

“We hope that in the next few months everyone will get to have their say, wherever they live, whether they work live or study in this city.

“We want everybody to get on board and help deliver this challenging target.

“The council cannot do this alone. Everyone will need to play their part, even in the smallest way.

“Can we ask and support our citizens to take simple cheap actions to get us started? Switch to a renewable energy tariff, reduce the quantity of meat they consume, reduce car use even if it’s just a couple of days a week. Plant a tree in their garden if they have space, increase their recycling, and do it right.

“Employers can help, by allowing staff to work from home, gradually converting their essential vehicles to electric, explore the opportunities of carbon-neutral deliveries and explore the energy efficiency of their properties.”

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