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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:11 pm on 5th February 2020.

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Photo of Huw Merriman Huw Merriman Chair, Transport Committee 5:11 pm, 5th February 2020

I thank all the colleagues who supported me—or told me they did—in the election for the Transport Committee, which it is a great privilege to chair. I have not done much for diversity, because I think I am the first male to chair it. There is a serious issue with diversity in the transport sector, and I recognise that I am not exactly waving the flag for that. I also want to thank Lilian Greenwood, who chaired the Committee previously with such rigour. She was an incredibly popular Chair, and it is a delight to see her back on the Committee. She has promised not to be a backseat driver, but another formidable female politician once said the same thing in this place. I am happy to be driven from the back.

It is a delight to speak on such a wide-ranging motion tabled by the Opposition. I do not agree with many parts of it, but I welcome the fact that we are debating them, and none more so than the need to decarbonise our transport sector. We have had great success in reducing emissions by 40% since the 1990s. Pretty much every sector except transport has reduced emissions over the past few years. It has remained stubbornly difficult to reduce transport’s footprint. Surface transport accounts for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and transport as a whole accounts for 33%. In fact, between 2014 and 2016, emissions from transport went up, so it is clearly the sector that needs the most focus, and I welcome the fact that it is getting that focus today.

I want to talk about some of the exciting innovations in the transport sector that we need to harness and encourage in order to meet our net zero carbon commitment.