New leadership at Zemo Partnership to focus on accelerating the delivery of net zero transport

14 December, 23
Claire Haigh is to take the helm of Zemo Partnership (formerly Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership/LowCVP), the organisation that has been working with government and the widest range of stakeholders for over 20 years

Claire Haigh is to take the helm of Zemo Partnership (formerly Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership/LowCVP), the organisation that has been working with government and the widest range of stakeholders for over 20 years to deliver key policies and initiatives to accelerate the decarbonisation of UK road transport.

Andy Eastlake is stepping down after more than a decade leading the Partnership. He leaves a legacy of sustained progress in transport decarbonisation and with the end of transport’s ‘fossil era’ in sight.

Claire Haigh, the Founder and CEO of Greener Vision (formerly Greener Transport Solutions) and Executive Director of the Transport Knowledge Hub is to take on the leadership role at Zemo from January 2024. She was previously CEO of Greener Journeys, an evidence-based campaign organisation (2009-20) funded by the major public transport companies which was established to highlight the environmental and associated benefits of bus travel. Claire also currently chairs the Delivery and Impacts Independent Review Panel for the Joint Air Quality Unit (Defra/DfT).

Claire has worked closely with Zemo/LowCVP for many years. As the Partnership’s Vice Chair, in early 2023 she carried out a wide-ranging survey of the views of (approaching 100) senior stakeholders on the past role and future opportunities for Zemo, providing input to a strategic review commissioned for the Partnership’s 20th anniversary year. The key conclusion of the review was that the priority now for net zero is the delivery of targets. This will be the Partnership’s primary focus under Claire’s leadership. A Zero Emission Mobility Taskforce has been established to support this purpose.

When Andy Eastlake began leading the Partnership in 2012, zero emission vehicles were an extremely rare sight; barely 1,000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were sold in that year (and average new car CO2 emissions were still 135 g/km and measured on the NEDC!). He leaves as annual BEV and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) car registrations approach 500,000, almost a quarter of the UK’s new car market.

In 2020 the Government took the historic step of announcing the end of sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2035. This was followed up, in 2021, with the announcement that only zero tailpipe emission heavy goods vehicles will be sold after 2040 (and smaller trucks by 2035). 2022 saw consultations (for which full responses are expected in 2024) proposing ending the sale of emitting buses, coaches and minibuses by 2032 together with motorcycles and all powered light vehicles, by 2035.

Zemo’s work on bus decarbonisation is widely recognised. The UK is now outperforming Europe on zero emission bus (ZEB) uptake with registrations accounting for close to half of all registrations in the UK in the last two years. There are now nearly 3,000 ZEBs in service in the UK, representing around 7% of the UK’s total fleet. By 2025/26, Zemo expects this figure to reach 15%.

Zemo has been building on learnings from the bus sector to replicate this success story for longer range trucks and coaches.

Zemo has embedded earlier work on renewable fuels, recently introducing the Renewable Fuels Assurance Scheme, to provide independent advice on fuels’ greenhouse gas emission savings and raw materials provenance, helping to improve operator confidence and trust in the sustainability performance of fuels like HVO and biomethane.

During his tenure, Andy Eastlake has also overseen the groundbreaking work of the Zemo-convened Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce which – for the first time – brought together stakeholders from the energy and transport sectors to maximise the potential opportunities arising from transport’s decarbonisation transition. Recommendations from the Taskforce were recently enshrined in legislation through the Public Charge Point Regulations 2023.

The Partnership celebrated the achievements of the past twenty years with an anniversary conference held at London’s City Hall in June. Zemo’s ‘Top 20’ achievements was published alongside the occasion. (For more flavour from the event, see this video link.)

As a founding member of LowCVP in 2003, Andy Eastlake has been a leading figure in the UK’s low – now zero – carbon transport world for the last two decades, speaking at many conferences, seminars and other events as well as appearing widely in the media and as an independent adviser to a wide range of government and other transport decarbonisation initiatives.

Andy Eastlake said: “It’s been a huge honour to lead this great and diverse collaboration and through this, support so many other groups and individuals to play a part in tackling perhaps the biggest challenge of our time.

“We’ve all made great progress on the road to net zero but now it’s time to re-focus and deliver the technologies that we know are now market-ready and able to decarbonise our transport sector.

“I wish the new leadership and all my many friends, colleagues and collaborators in this unique partnership every success in the next stages of the sprint to net zero transport.”

Claire Haigh said: “I am delighted to be taking the helm of Zemo Partnership at this crucial juncture for the net zero agenda.

Climate change is our greatest predicament and decarbonising transport is one of the toughest challenges of all. The UK has some world-leading targets, but what is now needed is a laser-like focus on delivery. Crucially, we need the right policies and incentives to enable the investment and support the supply chain transition.

There is a massive amount to do, but there has also been significant progress. Under Andy’s exemplary leadership, Zemo has been there as the honest broker every step of the way – working with government, industry and academia to find solutions for net zero road transport.”

Zemo Partnership’s Chair, Philip Sellwood CBE, said: “Andy has made an outstanding contribution to this agenda, driving mobility in all its forms on a faster route towards net zero. Much has been achieved so far but there’s still much to do as we progress into the delivery phase of the decarbonisation transition.

“I warmly welcome Claire as Andy’s replacement. She comes to the role with a wealth of transport experience and also detailed knowledge of Zemo. I look forward to working with her.”

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