• Local authorities in Gloucestershire unite to take a significant step towards reducing transport emissions and achieve Net Zero goals.
  • The county aims to become carbon neutral by 2045, with 80% emissions reduction by 2030.
  • The joint statement recognises councils’ commitment to tackling the climate emergency and outlines plans for sustainable transport and land use.
  • Focus on promoting sustainable travel choices, reducing the need for travel, and encouraging public and active transport options.
  •  On Friday [13 January 2023], all the local authorities in Gloucestershire set a significant milestone by signing an agreement to work together on a county-wide project to tackle transport decarbonisation and achieve Net Zero emissions by 2045.

The agreement was signed by Gloucestershire County Council, along with all the district councils in the region including Cheltenham Borough Council, Cotswold District Council, Forest of Dean District Council, Gloucester City Council, Stroud District Council, and Tewkesbury Borough Council.

Transport accounts for 34% of CO2 emissions in Gloucestershire, with cars being responsible for 58% of transport-related emissions. To meet the region’s 2030 goal of 80% emissions reduction, the project will aim to shorten car trips by 7.5%, reduce overall trips by 7.5%, increase ride-sharing to 2.5%, boost active travel by 300%, raise public transport use by 100%, and increase the number of electric vehicles on the road.

The agreement represents a significant milestone in regional collaboration on critical Net Zero projects. The joint statement recognises councils’ commitment to tackling the climate emergency and outlines plans for sustainable transport and land use, including:

  • Prioritising the integration of new housing developments alongside high-frequency and high-quality public, active travel options and service centres that enable a high level of self-containment.
  • Aligning Local Plans and Local Transport Plans with the ambitions of the county’s transport decarbonisation plan.
  • Supporting local efforts to create sustainable neighbourhoods within approximately 20 minutes walking distance of local service centres and building in active travel and public transport availability to make these more attractive travel options.
  • Encouraging people to reduce the need for, or shorten, some journeys, to shift to active travel and public transport modes and to improve the sustainability of those journeys that still require the use of private vehicles.

The project was developed with UK100’s Local Power in Action programme, with the collaboration of district councils and the leadership of Gloucestershire County Council.

Gloucestershire County Council is committed to being a leader in sustainable transport and aspires to work with its partner councils to reduce transport emissions in the region in line with its ambition to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2030.

Cllr Rob Bird, Leader of Tewkesbury Borough Council, said: “We are very keen to support the reduction of carbon emissions in Gloucestershire, and this project is a successful milestone in getting the Gloucestershire councils to set out a common objective.

“As a district council, we’re proud to see ourselves at the forefront of this drive. Our carbon-reduction policies are testament to our commitment and include the installation of our pioneering solar canopy and the development of our new electric vehicle charging strategy, which aims to develop a robust EV charging network across the borough.

“We are looking forward to working with our district and county partners to further deliver on our commitment to reducing our carbon emissions through this project.”

Christopher Hammond, Membership & Insights Director of UK100, the UK’s only network of ambitious local authorities committed to Net Zero and Clean Air, praised the project, saying, “This is a shining example of Local Government’s leadership in the fight against climate change. By aligning transport strategies with local development plans, the region will be able to provide sustainable homes and decarbonise the journeys across the county. This united effort in Gloucestershire to reduce emissions and improve air quality is exactly what we need to see more of in order to make real progress towards a sustainable future. It won’t be easy to realise their ambition, but it is a testament to the power of local action and the positive impact it can have on our communities and the environment.”

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, also welcomed the project, stating, “We are proud of our sustainable transport plans for Gloucestershire and that together with our district councils, we have today agreed to align our efforts to encourage shifts in travel behaviour. We will achieve this by delivering on our exciting projects including The Robin, the roll out of 1000 EV charging points, our flagship 26 mile cycle spine and the Arle Court Transport Hub. This statement of shared intent is a vital step towards achieving our ambitious goals and creating a cleaner, greener future for all our residents.”

As set out in a statement of shared intent, the councils, together with communities and businesses, will now work to establish land use patterns that encourage short journeys and support sustainable transport options that feed into the wider public/active transport network. They will also aim to prevent social isolation, and prioritise new development in areas of existing or future high accessibility to local services.

Gloucestershire County Council wants to hear from its residents, businesses, and community groups, to understand what they think are the best methods for reducing transport emissions and tackling the climate emergency.

For more information and details on how to have your say, visit: https://haveyoursaygloucestershire.uk.engagementhq.com/journey-to-net-zero.

A public survey will run from Friday, 13 January until Tuesday, 28 February.

Category: Planning