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Plastic Free July and helping shape a low-carbon future

Tuesday 7th July 2020

Our climate is changing. Fact!

Sea levels are rising, and oceans are becoming warmer.

Greenhouse gas emissions are causing significant changes to earth’s oceans, atmosphere, and climate – we cannot afford to ignore what’s happening in the UK and globally. The effects of climate change are already being felt, but they will get worse.

Climate change and social inequalities are widely seen as two of the key defining challenges of the 21st Century, and we can now add the global COVID-19 pandemic to that mix. These issues are intertwined – some have argued that there are parallels between the pandemic and climate change, for example the economic costs, social impact, and behavioral changes.

At Transport for the North, we believe the decarbonisation of transport is key to creating a low-carbon environment to combat climate change.

Decarbonisation of the transport network

At Transport for the North, we believe the decarbonisation of transport is key to creating a low-carbon environment to combat climate change. Transport is the biggest single carbon-emitting sector in the UK, accounting for around a third of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transport network, at a pan-Northern and a local level, is a key priority for Transport for the North, which is why we are working on a “Decarbonisation Pathway to 2050” This will outline a path for the region’s transport network to deliver an absolute zero carbon network before 2050.

Together with our members, partners, stakeholders, businesses and communities, we believe that working towards a zero-carbon transport network must be at the heart of public policy making and investment decisions – nationally, regionally and locally.

We’re collaborating with our region’s Local Transport and Combined Authorities in order for us to have a comprehensive understanding of existing policies, targets and programmes and also look at some of the future demand scenarios and how they would influence our travel needs.

The global threat of plastic pollution

Plastic pollution is also a global threat – it’s destroying our natural environment,

But it’s not just transport emissions that are contributing towards climate change. Plastic pollution is also a global threat – it’s destroying our natural environment, threatening the future of our oceans and marine life, and also contributing to climate change.

Whilst plastics can be useful, the big problem is with single-use plastics e.g. disposable cups, bottles, food containers/wrapping, straws and bags – they’re disposed of after just one use, and not always in a responsible way.

Since the release of wildlife documentary series Blue Planet II, conservationist Sir David Attenborough has become a loud voice in the UK, highlighting the threat we pose to the natural world through our addiction to single-use plastic.

According to The Guardian, consumers around the world buy a million plastic bottles a minute and plastic production is set to double in the next 20 years and quadruple by 2050.

That’s why there’s an urgent need to look at ways of becoming plastic free.

Transport for the North playing our part to be plastic free

Throughout the month of July we’re asking all within TeamTfN to do what they can when it comes to reducing plastic waste and instead using plastic-free alternatives.

We all have to start from somewhere if we’re going to combat climate change, just like we’re doing when it comes to decarbonisation of transport.

Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution.

Success will only come when we collaborate and commit to playing our part to living and moving towards an existence that is as kind to the environment as possible.

Any reduction in carbon emissions needs to be linked with a wider national energy strategy. So, as governments begin planning their COVID-19 recovery strategies, we hope they can use this opportunity to help shape a lower-carbon future.