Devolved cities: agents of change for a low carbon future


Category: devoComment, Environment, The North, Transport

Neil Wallis, Head of Communications, Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP)

With well over half of the global population now living in cities (and a greater proportion in cities located in the high-consuming developed countries), the importance of cities in meeting the environmental challenges of the future is obvious. 

A recent CDP report found that over 100 global cities now get most of their electricity from renewables. Over 40 cities are currently operating on 100% renewable electricity, including Burlington, Basel and Reykjavík.  

The CDP analysis was published on the same day that UK100, a network of local government leaders, announced that over 80 UK towns and cities have committed to 100% clean energy by 2050. The cities signing up included Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and 16 London boroughs. 

Last year’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Annual Conference was held at City Hall, London, in association with the Mayor of London. The event focused on the introduction of policies to harness the revolution in mobility technologies, with the aim of cutting carbon dioxide emissions and pollution and seizing related business opportunities.  

The LowCVP Annual Conference featured the Urban Mobility Index, produced by Cebr, which ranked 35 mega-cities by their progress on policies to reduce the impact that transportation has on health and the environment. Oslo, London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Paris topped the table. Powers over transport and environmental pollution are devolved to most of the leading cities, demonstrating how useful devolution can be. 

Tackling transport-related emissions at city level is not only vital in terms of meeting the challenges of climate change and health-damaging air pollution. It can also be critical to the economy and industrial future of cities and regions to be engaged in the development and production of clean, green technologies and services that will dominate the markets of the future. This is clear in the UK Industrial Strategy which talks of “ [maximising] the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth… and use of low carbon technologies…” 

The LowCVP’s ‘Moving North’ Conference, to be held in Manchester on 12th April, will focus on the challenge of cutting carbon emissions and air pollution, and seizing the business opportunities for automotive and fuel supply companies in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’. Featuring a keynote speech by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, the event will bring leading stakeholders together to discuss how Manchester and the North of England can capitalise on the rapidly growing markets for electric vehicles and other clean, low carbon emerging technologies and related mobility service solutions. Taking place shortly after Manchester’s Green Summit, the event will focus on a narrower, but crucially important sector in terms of the overall green agenda. 

Bookings are now being taken for the event, which will be held at Manchester Metropolitan University on 12th April 2018. Some exhibition and sponsorship opportunities are also available. Details are available on LowCVP’s website.

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