GHG Emissions

Decarbon8 & Stantec have analysed the carbon footprint from travel of a large site confirmed for development but not near public transport. To achieve UK Government Net Zero targets, a reduction in travel by car of between 20% to 30% is required - even with electic vehicles and denser housing


The land is in Manchester's Places for Everyone Spatial Plan for a new 'sustainable' neighbourhood of 3,500 homes. It has passed public examination and is moving to public consultation and Council approval


To achieve a net zero mobility future for the site a reduction of car trips (between 5 – 30km) is necessary - which would represent over 60% of the travel distance related to the site

The analysis considers three ways the site could be developed: 

Just About Managing

• Housing and streets designed mostly for cars. On average, each house has two parking places

• Each house is provided with an EV charging point for cheap access to fuel.

• Two local centres struggle to survive against competition from the town centre and out of centre development

• The best local centre is quite close to the tram stop, has shops and a primary school, and a mobility hub for bikes , e-bikes or an e-car

• The other has got the doctors’ surgery, pharmacy, hairdressers and other local services. It’s a fair hike to get there from the other side of the development though

Digitally Distributed

• Each house has on average one parking space in a shared parking and EV charging area

• Shared parking areas use the collective power of the car batteries to reduce energy need at peak times and reduce carbon

• These areas also provide local mobility services, shops and local amenities including local work hubs with Amazon deliveries

• Home and hub working three days a week is common

• Many cars and vans are selfdriving, so you can order your car to the front door, or pay for the robot delivery service

Urban Zero Carbon

• The development offers a range of dwellings and tenures for families, couples and single people

• Housing is higher density and mixed use, clustered around public transport hubs which provide access to a range of transport services

• On average, private car parking is limited to 0.3 spaces per dwelling, located in buildings which support EV charging

• Streets are designed to provide for walking, cycling and micro-mobility modes first. High quality finishes create attractive public spaces

• Higher density development makes efficient use of land, as well as creating extra, well maintained open space to promote healthy lifestyles, and biodiversity net gain

For each Scenario studies were made of:


For a site located as far from public transport as Elton Reservoir no Scenario could produce Net Zero

Even making the most of new technology and higher density liveing would need to be ‘supercharged’ with additional transport options to achieve Net Zero. Whilst it is important to promote greater movement by active modes, the key to carbon reduction is the reduction of intermediate trips ( 5 – 30km) which would represent over 60% of the travel distance related to the site.

A reduction in travel by car, or equivalent, of at least 20% and probaly 30%, is required by 2030 to meet surface transport net zero, assuming the most favourable outcomes from current decarbonisation policies.

Stantec and Decarbonate conclude;

If we are to stay within the 1.5o target, 65% carbon reduction needs to be achieved by 2035. There are many practical difficulties with this: not least the need to almost double the scale of electricity generation to meet the demand for full transition to electricity and hydrogen as the main sources of green power; the need to fundamentally change the distribution networks with associated time and carbon cost; and the need to build a whole new vehicle fleet with its own cost to carbon and natural resources.

The second factor relates to demand, and the suggestion that we can carry on doing the things we always have, just with clean technologies. This is wrong because it does not deliver carbon reductions quickly enough. It is also wrong because if we see a shift to electrification without any wider changes to how we pay for movement, then the private costs will fall and people will drive more. This leaves the planning system faced with the additional social costs of congestion and safety. There is a need for clarity on the travel demand futures we are planning for so we can change our decision-making about the infrastructure we need and how we deliver new places.

Together these factors leave a gap between our current ambitions for removing carbon from the transport sector and our target for carbon reduction. This is why DfT and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities need to grasp the nettle and swiftly develop the policies and strategies needed to deliver against the carbon target through the planning, delivery and operation of our transport systems. Elsewhere, we are now beginning to see more radical departures from previous policy norms, such as the 20% traffic reduction target in Scotland deemed necessary to bridge the gap. This requires a far more determined approach to creating viable alternatives and incentives.