Drive to reduce transport emissions
Waikato Regional Council has a bold plan to make Waikato public transport carbon emissions negative by 2027 — through a transition to zeroemissions vehicles, tree planting and buying local offsetting credits. The plan is the first of its kind in the country. The suggestion has been included in the draft Regional Public Transport Plan 2022-2023 and has been approved by the regional connections committee which has membership from local authorities throughout the region. The draft plan outlines suggested steps towards public transport being net emissions neutral by 2024 and net negative by 2027. “The objective of emissions negative is quite bold, but members of the committee were adamant that urgent climate action should be a top priority in the plan,” said committee member and Waikato Regional Council Thames Coromandel representative Denis Tegg. “It definitely shows leadership throughout the region and beyond,” he said. The draft plan says public transport can contribute to emissions reductions generally by reducing emissions from the modes it uses and by helping people shift out of cars on to public transport. “Another pleasing focus of the plan is for a better public transport network in the regions between and within smaller towns such as Thames,” said Denis. “The aim is to improve accessibility and wellbeing, particularly with an ageing population. The need for these services is only going to increase.” The draft plan is due for approval by the regional council later this month and will go out for consultation in July.