What environmental and logistical improvements, including those related to road freight emissions, urban air quality and congestion, could we expect to see if the planning approval decision making process were more technocratic and gave more weight to wider improvements? 


The reducing environmental impacts strategic priority is in recognition that there is an environmental aspect to all transport, and therefore almost all the work of DfT. Transport is the largest emitting sector of greenhouse gases in the UK, contributing 27% of domestic emissions in 2019. Our transport system must change to deliver the government’s Net Zero ambition and DfT will drive forwards that change through our longer-term green transport agenda. On decarbonisation specifically, we published our Transport decarbonisation plan (TDP) in July 2021, which sets out the steps we will take to deliver the necessary carbon reductions across every form of transport. Sustainability will be at the heart of levelling-up. People everywhere will feel the benefits – villages, towns, cities, and countryside will be cleaner, greener, healthier and more prosperous and pleasant environments in which to live and work

Next steps

Get in touch with bridgetoresearch@dft.gov.uk


This question was published as part of the set of ARIs in this document:

DFT-Areas of research interest 2023 GOV UK

Related UKRI funded projects

  • FTCP - Freight Traffic Control (Construction) Platform

    "Construction activity is essential to ensure the regeneration of not only London but also all UK cities and ultimately all cities around the world. With growing populations and increased urbanisation there's an eve...

    Funded by: Innovate UK

    Lead research organisation: Grid Smarter Cities Ltd

    Why might this be relevant?

    The project focuses on reducing emissions and congestion from construction freight, which is a part of the question's focus on road freight emissions and congestion.

  • Network Emissions/Vehicle Flow Management Adjustment (NEVFMA)

    In the last 5 years, air quality has become a key consideration for the UK government agenda, as illustrated by the increasing number of Low Emission Zones (LEZ), Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ, including the first ULEZ ...

    Funded by: Innovate UK

    Lead research organisation: Aimsun Limited

    Why might this be relevant?

    The project aims to manage vehicle flow and emissions, which aligns with the question's focus on urban air quality and congestion.

  • National Freight Model (Phase 2)

    The UK Freight system is extensive comprising around 195,000 enterprises, 2.5 million employees, and contributing £121 billion gross value added (GVA) to the economy. In most places, LGVs and HGVs contribute ~30% o...

    Funded by: Innovate UK

    Lead research organisation: City Science Corporation Limited

    Why might this be relevant?

    The project aims to improve the freight system, which could lead to reductions in emissions and congestion, partially addressing the question.

  • Low Carbon Transitions of Fleet Operations in Metropolitan Sites (LC TRANSFORMS)

    The rapid urbanisation and increase in vehicle use in East Asia has created substantial environmental and social problems. In the UK, urban transport systems face similar issues, but generally at a smaller scale and at a...

    Funded by: EPSRC

    Lead research organisation: Newcastle University

  • Re:Hatch

    As we transition to a low carbon, zero-emission future, the decisions we make around transport will play a critical role. Re:Hatch is an innovative R&D project that aims to use artificial intelligence and machine lea...

    Funded by: Innovate UK

    Lead research organisation: Rerwt Ltd

  • DecarboN8 - An integrated network to decarbonise transport

    The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2018 highlighted the need for urgent, transformative change, on an unprecedented scale, if global warming is to be restricted to 1.5C. The challenge...

    Funded by: EPSRC

    Lead research organisation: University of Leeds

  • Levelling up Freight

    **Background** Rail freight is vital to Britain. It contributes almost £2.5bn to the economy and plays a big part in reducing congestion and emissions. Rail is more environmentally friendly than road, with every t...

    Funded by: Innovate UK

    Lead research organisation: 3squared Ltd.

  • Automated Model Build for Decarbonisation and Climate Resilience

    Our experience developing transport decarbonisation strategies indicates the need for a new generation of easy-to-access, multi-modal models (including freight) to provide the necessary, detailed intelligence to enable l...

    Funded by: Innovate UK

    Lead research organisation: City Science Corporation Limited

  • JPI Urban Europe/NSFC Urban Public Administration and ServiceS innovation for Innovative Urban Mobility Management and Policy

    Achieving a sustainable and reliable transport system is among the key challenges that contemporary cities face; in China, in Europe, and beyond. Defining effective strategies to improve the benefits of transport, while ...

    Funded by: ESRC

    Lead research organisation: University of Leeds

  • Future Resilient Transport Networks - FUTURENET

    Much current discussion about transport and climate change focuses on the impact of transport on climate change. Indeed, many mitigation measures are focussed upon the transport change, and many mitigation measures are f...

    Funded by: EPSRC

    Lead research organisation: University of Nottingham