Cadent’s transport journey to Net Zero: Part One

future of energy

In the first of a two part  series Cadent Sustainable Transport Manager David Jones shares his thoughts on Cadent’s role in helping the transport sector play its part in achieving Net Zero.
No pun intended, but the world of zero emission transport is moving so quickly, that it’s worthwhile us taking the time to pull over and examine our roadmap as we plan the next stages of our journey.

The 21st century will see some of the biggest changes in transport since the invention of the internal combustion engine and the motor car in the 19th century as the world moves away from petrol and diesel vehicles.

The UK is at the forefront of this green transport revolution. In 2019 Britain became the first major world economy to pass laws pledging to achieve  net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in all economic sectors by 2050.

Transport will play a major part in achieving this and the Government plans to publish its Transport Decarbonisation Plan this autumn. It has already indicated its intention to bring forward a ban on the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles from 2040 to 2035 along with an aspiration for the UK to become a hub for green transport technology and innovation.

People may be surprised to learn that Britain’s largest gas distribution network Cadent is helping to drive forward solutions and innovations in this brave new world of zero emission transport.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2017 road transport contributed around a fifth (21%)  of UK GHG emissions[1]. Meanwhile in its Transport Statistics Great Britain 2018 the Department of Transport stated that van traffic had grown faster than any other vehicle type since 2006[2].

The issue of vans is very relevant to Cadent as in common with most utilities vans, of varying types, make up a large percentage of our vehicle fleet. Vans are the ideal transport for the work we do, providing our engineers a great way to get themselves to where they’re needed along with the required kit and equipment. Without vans we wouldn’t be able to effectively carry out our essential work to maintain safe and reliable gas supplies to millions of properties around our networks, so not using them is currently not an option for us.

However, as part our RIIO-2 (Revenue=Incentives+Innovation+Outputs) environmental goals we have committed to having 1,000 zero emission gas emergency response vehicles operating across all of our networks by 2026.

Recently we took a big step forward to achieving our 2026 goal when we took delivery of 10 new vehicles – five electric vans and five hydrogen cars for our North London gas distribution network.
We selected the London network as the first recipient for the new vehicles due to the availability of the required infrastructure, charging points and fuelling stations.

In tandem with this we’re also working to develop a range of other transport technologies to reduce our carbon footprint, including using motorcycles, vans running on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) and biomethane trucks.

Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be talking to our field force engineers who’ve been out and about using the new vehicles and assessing how the new vehicles coped in term of range and ability to operate equipment. The lessons we learn will help inform our decisions as we look to acquire the next wave of zero emission vehicles and work towards our 2026 goal.

Our transport strategy shows our commitment to walking – or driving – the talk in regard to both the environment and the future role of gas in transport.

And we believe that gas itself has an important and exciting part to play in the journey towards Net Zero in the transport sector as you’ll find out in my next article.

To be continued…in the concluding part of this series David will share the story of how Cadent is helping drive the quest to develop the use of gas as a viable transport fuel

Find out more - our transport vision

[1] Road transport and air emissions
Contribution of road transport to greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions – further
analysis of the UK Environmental Accounts data. September 2018
[2] Department for Transport, Transport Statistics Great Britain 2018


Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

Future of Gas: Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

Cadent manages the national gas emergency service free phone line on behalf of the gas industry - 0800 111 999*

Cadent Gas Ltd is owned by a consortium of global investors.

*All calls are recorded and may be monitored.

Media contacts

Ben Green

07773 122925