Greg Marston and Kay Jenkinson
Around 230 councils in England have declared a climate emergency in which they have committed to reduce carbon emissions substantially. To help local authorities plan the delivery of these targets, the Local Government Association (LGA) commissioned Professor Greg Marsden and Professor Jillian Anable to lead a team of researchers to write a series of 4-page guidance notes on transport decarbonisationOpens in a new tab.
The notes offer practical guidance to councils developing strategies to address the climate emergency. Two workshops with councillors and officers informed the selection of seven topics: setting the right carbon ambition, buses, electric vehicles, parking policies, land-use/localisation/accessibility, online opportunities; and cycling.
Core funding was provided by the LGA, but this was matched with resources from the DecarboN8 research network+Opens in a new tab and an Impact Acceleration Award from CREDS. This multiplied the range of experts and topics which could be addressed, as well as supporting the communication of the outputs.
Close liaison with officers at the LGA during the writing process ensured that their requirements were understood and addressed, and that they had insight into the evidence that was being presented.
The briefings were published with accompanying publicity on social media. The LGA’s Decarbonising Transport page achieved 2,556 page views and 1,862 visits and there were 768 downloads in the first two weeks.
Figures from the LGA show that by the end of September the briefings had been downloaded a total of 1,103 times, with Travelling less/online opportunities seeing 253 downloads. The briefings were promoted with a series of webinars and Prof. Marsden and other members of the research writing team led the speaker panels of all the LGA webinars. The first two webinars reached 101 and 74 participants respectively.
The partnership with an influential stakeholder, such as the LGA, has meant that these evidence-based recommendations have had a much more extensive reach into local government than the research teams alone would have been able to achieve. The work with LGA has also established a positive working relationship that we hope will lead to future collaborations.
It is likely that the briefings are starting to influence the UK’s longer-term transport decarbonisation ambition. Informal feedback suggests that the briefings have been part of discussions in the Department for Transport’s decarbonisation team on strategies for supporting local government.
Within CREDS, this collaboration drew on research on long-distance travel, teleworking and e-bikes, and in future it will be incorporated into CREDS’ cross-programme work on low-energy demand scenarios and a forthcoming paper for Nature (both in progress).
Sources of information
- LGA: Decarbonising transport – Climate smart parking policiesOpens in a new tab
- Hansard: Electric Vehicles Volume 805: debated on Thursday 10 September 2020Opens in a new tab
…It powerfully sets out the benefits, in terms of economic recovery and job creation across the country, of investment in the infrastructure necessary for that transition.” Baroness Hayman, House of Lords debate, 10 September 2020
Our aim with this project was to be able to spell out really clearly to councils what they need to do and how quickly they need to do it. Involving renowned experts like Greg and Jillian helps get that message across and gives it authority and credibility. Their factual approach and depth of knowledge comes across in the webinars and is really appreciated by the delegates.” Kamal Panchal, Senior Advisor at the LGA, transport policy lead
Marsden, G . and Jenkinson, K. 2020. LGA guidance on actions for transport in the climate emergency. Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions. Oxford, UK. CREDS case study.
Banner photo credit: Alireza Attari on Unsplash