Stronger commitment to sustainability in transport required

Stronger commitment to sustainability in transport required
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A recent Environmental Committee Audit report has highlighted concerns that sustainability is slipping down the government’s annual reporting agenda and that there is curre ntly inadequate communication to the transport sector on sustainable transport commitments, timetable and progress, making it very difficult for the sector to plan and invest with certainty. 

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Why is sustainability important in the transport sector?

The government has a number of sustainability targets, including the commitment in the Climate Change Act 2008 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.

In 2014 a net reduction of 36% in UK greenhouse gas emissions was achieved against 1990 levels. Some 22% of emissions came from the domestic transport sector, which is now the largest emitting sector.

What is the background to the Committee report?

The Committee’s remit includes a responsibility to audit government departments’ and agencies’ performance against sustainable development and environmental protection targets. To fulfil this function the National Audit Office (NAO) were asked to review the work of the Department for Transport (DfT) to assess how it has embedded sustainability into its work.

The Committee drew on the NAO’s overview, previous departmental business plans and evidence from DfT officials, the transport sector and local government to examine DfT policies and policy making, governance and operations from a sustainable development perspective.

The NAO concluded that the DfT has taken many positive steps to meeting the challenge of sustainability in the transport sector. The

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About the author:
Sophie is an environmental law specialist at LexisNexis with 13 years’ experience.

Sophie moved to LexisNexis from Shoosmiths LLP where she was a Senior Associate. Prior to this Sophie trained at Browne Jacobson LLP and spent 6 years at Eversheds LLP. Sophie is a non-contentious environmental law specialist with experience in advising on all environmental aspects of real estate and corporate transactions, environmental compliance, contaminated land, waste management, water law, sustainability, producer responsibility and chemicals regulation.