Road and rail emissions—regulation

The following Environment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Road and rail emissions—regulation
  • Brexit impact
  • Emissions profile
  • Policy framework
  • Transport white paper and carbon freight review
  • Air quality plan and clean air strategy 2019
  • Clean Growth Strategy
  • Road to Zero Strategy
  • Bus Back Better strategy
  • Further measures to support uptake of ULEVs
  • More...

Road and rail emissions—regulation

STOP PRESS: this Practice Note is currently being updated in light of a series of relevant EU exit regulations.

Originally produced in partnership with Navraj Singh Ghaleigh of Senior Lecturer in Climate Law, University of Edinburgh

Brexit impact

11 pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. Any changes relevant to this content will be set out below. For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—impact on environmental law and News Analysis: Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources.

Emissions profile

Transport is a major contributor to the emissions profile of advanced economies. In 2016, transport contributed 27% of total EU-28 greenhouse gas emissions, second only to the energy supply sector, and greater than industry, residential and commercial and agriculture.

Of all transport emissions, those from road transport account for 72.1% of all EU transport emissions, as compared with only 0.5% for rail.

Furthermore, and unlike other major industrial sectors, emissions from transport are significantly higher (+26%) than their 1990 levels. Although international aviation has experienced the largest percentage increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over 1990 levels (+114%), road transport

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