The chair of the Isle of Man’s Climate Change Transformation Board (CCTB) has vowed that decarbonisation scenarios will form part of the island’s upcoming Transport Strategy.

Daphne Caine has highlighted that these scenarios will include considerations regarding technology, fiscal measures and public behaviour changes.

The Transport Strategy, which is being put together by the Department of Infrastructure (DoI), will be part of the Government’s Island Plan and will set out the DoI’s policies moving forward.

The CCTB has previously stated that they are hopeful of reducing transport emissions in the island by 15% before 2027.

Talking about the island’s strategy during last week’s House of Keys sitting, Mrs Caine said: ‘The CCTB commissioned the “strategic transport decarbonisation scenarios” as an independent report to identify ways in which the island could meet climate change targets in the transport sector.

‘The brief was finalised in November 2022 and SYSTRA were awarded the contract to complete the report in February 2023. The final report was approved by the CCTB in March 2024, and is now being shared with the Council of Ministers while a communications plan is being prepared.

‘This scenario report was commissioned to inform the Transport Strategy on the best approach to reduce emissions from transport, while meeting the targets in the “Climate Change Plan 2022 to 2027”.’

Mrs Caine highlighted that the report puts forward 36 recommendations, which includes the delivery of an EEVEE charging strategy and a feasibility study for biofuels.

Chris Thomas, MHK for Douglas Central, raised concerns regarding how long SYSTRA had taken to complete the report and asked whether it was going to be published.

Mrs Caine responded: ‘It has first been made available to the DoI because they are most impacted by it and need to feed it into their policy considerations. However, I would welcome its publication.

‘In terms of how long it took SYSTRA, it is a very complex report covering all aspects of our transport sector. It also required them to collect missing data, as the Isle of Man has never been great at obtaining useful data such as mileage statistics.

‘There is still a significant amount of work to undertake for the island to transition to net zero for transport.’

The transport decarbonisation scenarios work follows similar studies that have been completed for other high-emitting sectors, including renewable heating and future energy saving.

Back in February 2022, a report outlining ways to decarbonise heating systems in the island’s homes and buildings was published.

The government identified that around a quarter of greenhouse gases come from properties, and suggested alternatives such as heat pumps.

Ralph Peake, the director of the ‘Energy and Sustainability Centre (ESC) IOM’, suggested that the island could introduce a ‘carbon tax’ to discourage people from burning carbon fuels.

He said: ‘A carbon tax would help people to focus on what the issue is. There would be a lot of backlash to this, but if the focus is on changing people’s habits, then this would certainly be something that people start to look at.

‘If alternatives to carbon are identified and highlighted by Government, but people then want to stick to carbon and their usual methods, then the polluter pays more tax to offset that.

‘Decarbonisation is not an easy subject at all, but it’s really important to have a clear message and vision from the outset.’

Mr Peake highlighted that the island could use the Faroe Islands as an example, who are looking to achieve a 100% use of green electrical energy by 2030.

He said: ‘They made this commitment in 2014, and it looks like they’re set to achieve their target before the planned 2030 date. This really shows that “where there is a will there is a way”.

‘Buses in London are now all 100% electrical too, which I think the Isle of Man should be taking steps to implement themselves.

‘It remains to be seen, but hopefully the new Transport Strategy will inform and encourage people to decarbonise as much as they possibly can.’