Tackling carbon emissions from transport in Lincolnshire is currently the biggest challenge to getting the county to net zero emissions by 2050, according to a new study.
The Lincolnshire Carbon Tool, commissioned by Lincolnshire County Council, measured emissions from all sources around the region and showed a general reduction of around 30% since 2005.
However, to achieve its target, the tool reports the region still has a budget of 24.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide between 2020 and 2050.
A report before the authority’s Environment and Executive Committee on Tuesday showed most sectors had seen a reduction in emissions since 2005, however, transport remained mainly steady, taking over from domestic housing as the biggest emitter.
Transport produces around 1.462 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, just under 40% of the county’s total. Business and commerce and domestic housing each accounted for 30% of emissions.
Vehicle upgrades had improved efficiency but the number of journeys made due to online shopping and deliveries, and a move towards large sports utility vehicles (SUVs), were balancing out the benefits. There had been a 70% increase in van deliveries, councillors were told.
The areas with highest transport carbon emissions were the more rural district councils due to the longer distances residents had to travel to access services, while urban centres such as Boston and Lincoln were the lowest producers.
Dan Clayton, sustainability manager at LCC, said “There has been a significant reduction that’s occurred so far, but I think what’s happened is that the low-hanging fruit has been taken and the next round of emissions will be more problematic to introduce.”
He told councillors emission reductions in the future would be “largely driven by national government policy” including the stopping of the sale of fully diesel and petrol cars from 2030.
However, the council is working on a local transport plan to improve the situation, including commissioning reports into electric vehicle infrastructure requirements.
Funding options to help businesses introduce energy efficiency technologies are also being looked at through a new Lincolnshire Climate Partnership and Business Lincolnshire.
During the meeting on Tuesday, councillors debated the benefit of online deliveries, new technology, increased emphasis on walking and cycling and improving public transport.
However, concerns were raised including the cost of retrofitting existing houses to be more energy efficient, as well as the suitability of current tech to meet meets.
The council’s green masterplan was also discussed in a separate agenda item and includes plans to improve sustainable transport options.