Behind the Targets? The Case for Coherence in a Multi-Scalar Approach to Carbon Action Plans in the Transport Sector
- Only 38% of authorities had declared an emergency with no target or pathway;
- Only 15% of authorities were in the process of setting targets;
- Only 47% of authorities had set a target. However, of these, 41% were for emissions only by the local authority’s own activities, with 59% being area-wide targets;
- Only 8% set targets for the transport sector.
- Budget coherence: Are the budgets aligned across authorities and scales?
- Accounting coherence: What gets counted where?
- Policy coherence: How are budgets aligned with the capacity to act?
2. Materials and Methods
3. Translating the Paris Agreement to the UK Transport Sector
4. Translating National Sectoral Targets to Subnational Scales
4.1. Subnational Government in the UK
- National government (UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), which has a mix of competencies on tax and fiscal policy which applies across the four nations (including England) but where transport and planning policies are largely managed separately .
- Sub-National Transport Bodies, as regional governance in the UK has had a mixed history , with regional planning being a feature of the early 2000s but abolished in England and Wales by 2010, for example. In 2019, Transport for the North was established as the first statutory Sub-National Transport Body, covering 20 local authorities in the North of England to conduct strategic planning for, among other elements, new infrastructure. While not originally conceived with a carbon management role, this is currently being developed . Other non-statutory subnational transport bodies exist.
- Combined authorities represent clusters of local authorities that have formal governance structures to work together, based initially around the logic of shared travel to work areas which defined the metropolitan counties up to their abolishment in the 1980s. Other forms of combined authority are now being set up, and many also now have elected mayors, who are delegated some powers .
- Shire counties are typically larger rural counties which are comprised of district authorities. Most of the transport planning powers sit with the shires.
- Unitary authorities are typically, but not exclusively, smaller cities which do not neatly fit within shire boundaries or which have been separated out in local government reorganizations. Combined authorities are made up of an aggregation of unitary authorities.
4.2. Coherence in Carbon Management for Transport
- Budget coherence concerns budgets as a mechanism through which the sum of the actions of different actors meet the national goals;
- Accounting coherence is a means through which questions about what gets counted where are resolved to align actions between different levels of government;
- Policy coherence considers the relationship between the budget and accounting coherence and the policy competencies to act at different spatial scales.
4.2.1. Budget Coherence
4.2.2. Accounting Coherence
- A territorial-based emissions approach where the place in which the emissions occur is the basis for accounting. In transport, this means assigning the emissions to where the movement occurs as a proxy for where fossil fuels are used.
- A production-based approach where sources of production are assigned the emissions, no matter where the end consumption is. In transport, for example, this would assign emissions to residents of an area irrespective of how much of their emissions burden is within that area.
- A consumption-based approach, which assigns the emissions associated with the whole consumption chain (including imports) to the place where consumption occurs.
4.2.3. Policy Coherence
- Budget coherence, where the gap between framings of what the Paris Agreement means are creating radically different ambition levels. Coupled with this are inconsistencies even within areas that have budgets as well as between places that do and do not have any form of budgeting. There must, at the very least, be some form of budgeting at a subnational scale below that of devolved administrations.
- Accounting coherence, as accounting at the smaller scales of local government alone appears too limited in managing the full range of carbon impacts from transport. Carbon accounting coherence in transport significantly improves at a combined authority, city region or shire county scale, and there are still important flows at a sub-national authority scale.
- Policy coherence, because of the patchwork of powers and structures across the UK, there is no one prescription for how this will work. A multi-scalar approach seems, therefore, both inevitable and appropriate. It is difficult to envisage policy coherence, however, without agreement over how much action is needed and what needs to be counted where, as set out in the budget and accounting coherence.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Efficiency Existing fleet||26|
|Electrification Light Vans||6|
|Heavy Goods + Other||1|
|Total Cumulative Abatement in Each Period (MtCO2)||92||242||414||552||633||670||2602|
|Topic||Leeds City Council||West Yorkshire Combined Authority|
|Geography||Leeds City Council||Leeds City Council, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Kirklees Council, Calderdale Council, Wakefield Council|
|Area||552 sqkm||2029 sqkm|
|Declaration of Climate Emergency||27 March 2019||27 June 2019|
|Territorial Surface Transport Carbon Emissions 2018 (NAEI)||1659.5 MtC||4064.2 MtC|
|Date for Zero Transport Emissions||2030||2038|
|Budget Framing||Leeds Climate Commission and PCAN network||Tyndall Centre|
|Technical Reports||https://leedsclimate.org.uk/leeds-carbon-roadmap-2019 (accessed on 1 June 2021)||https://www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/media/4268/emission-reduction-pathways-report.pdf (accessed on 1 June 2021)|
|Reductions in Car Demand||30%||21–38%|
|Increase in Bus Use||100%||39%|
|Increase in Cycling||400%||2000%|
|Aggregation||N||Standard Deviation||Std Error|
|Combined Authorities (g)||105||10.7||1.04|
Vehicle Excise Duty
Company Car Tax
Charge Point Obligations,
Highways England and Network Rail Regulatory Framework
|Roads and Rail Investment Strategies|
Cycling Infrastructure Funding (LCWIP)
Major Schemes and City Deals
|Funding Framework and Subsidy: evels|
Green Purchase Subsidy
|Planning Policy Framework|
Housing Targets and Housing Delivery Grants
|Sub-national||Strategic and Business Case Development||Lobbying and Ticketing Coordination|
|Combined authority||Strategic and Business Case Development and Delivery||Bus Franchising Managing Socially Necessary Services|
Operating Tram Systems
|County/Unitary/Met District||Parking Pricing||Introduction of Clean Air Zones, Congestion Charging, Workplace Parking Levy||Strategic and Business Case Development and Delivery|
Roadspace Allocation (Bus and Cycle Lanes)
Parking Provision (Public and On-street)
Managing Socially Necessary Services (if Not C.A.)
|Strategic Plans (County) or Local Plans and Planning Approvals|
|Local District||Parking Pricing||Parking Provision (Public and On-street)|
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Marsden, G.; Anable, J. Behind the Targets? The Case for Coherence in a Multi-Scalar Approach to Carbon Action Plans in the Transport Sector. Sustainability 2021, 13, 7122. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137122
Marsden G, Anable J. Behind the Targets? The Case for Coherence in a Multi-Scalar Approach to Carbon Action Plans in the Transport Sector. Sustainability. 2021; 13(13):7122. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137122Chicago/Turabian Style
Marsden, Greg, and Jillian Anable. 2021. "Behind the Targets? The Case for Coherence in a Multi-Scalar Approach to Carbon Action Plans in the Transport Sector" Sustainability 13, no. 13: 7122. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137122