Ambitious low emissions goals set as Andy Burnham opens LowCVP’s ‘Moving North’ conference
The Mayor of Greater Manchester came together with leaders from the Northern Powerhouse, the automotive industry and related sectors to discuss the future of greener transport in the North and the resulting business opportunities.
Following on from Greater Manchester’s recent Green Summit, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership’s (LowCVP) 2018 ‘Moving North’ Conference focused on the challenge of cutting carbon emissions and air pollution from transport, and seizing the business opportunities – across the automotive and fuel supply chains, and through to transport companies and innovators in the Northern Powerhouse.
The central question to Burnham was whether devolution of power to the English regions accelerate the change to greener transport. In his keynote he pitched Greater Manchester as a ‘laboratory’, where initiatives such as in low carbon emissions could be trialled and then replicated nationally. Burnham also suggested that the city-region is likely to set a new target date for carbon neutrality, at least a decade ahead of the UK’s current 2050 goal.
Burnham stressed the city-region’s ambitions to be one of the greenest cities in Europe, saying: “Low carbon transport is clearly a vital component of that ambition. Proposals on the table include establishing a new public sector-led commercial model for the Greater Manchester electric vehicle (GMEV) charging network this year and doubling the size of the network.
“If we are to tackle the challenges involved in reducing transport emissions in the region, and support growing demand for greener travel, it is vital that we bring all sectors together and move as one.
“We must be bold in our ambitions and keep our eyes on the significant long-term benefits, not just the short-term challenges. Greater Manchester wants to move to an emissions-free bus fleet and we will look at whether new bus powers for Mayors of combined authorities can help us to achieve this faster.
“Being among the first to fully embrace new green technologies has the potential to bring huge economic advantages, and Greater Manchester is primed and ready to take that step. The automotive industry is hugely important for jobs in the UK, and the next generation of ultra-low emission vehicles will provide huge opportunities for our digital and manufacturing sectors.” Burnham also suggested that the city-region is likely to set a new target date for carbon neutrality, at least a decade ahead of the UK’s current 2050 goal.
The Moving North Conference was held in association with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, the Northern Automotive Alliance (NAA) and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM). It was supported by Manchester Metropolitan University – the host for the event – and sponsored by GEFCO and Uber.
Andy Eastlake, Managing Director, Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP), commented: “I’m delighted that the LowCVP has been able to bring together a number of different sectors, including the automotive and energy industries, governmental/public sector organisations, ‘new mobility’ companies and other stakeholders, to look at the future of transport in the Northern Powerhouse region – and beyond.
“This future will be driven by ever-tighter regulation of carbon dioxide and pollutant emissions, coupled with growing demand from users for cleaner and more efficient vehicles and the energy to power them. This transition offers huge opportunities for businesses in the automotive, fuels and related sectors.”
Carol Holden OBE, Chief Executive, Northern Automotive Alliance (NAA), added: “I hope this event will play a key role in moving us towards a local, joined-up approach for a Northern low carbon vehicle industry vision and strategy, as well as raising the profile of our regional assets and research, and starting the debate about funding and support mechanisms that make sense for a diverse, geographically spread community.”