Industry News

UK Govt plays disrupter on heavy goods vehicles

The United Kingdom Government has announced it will phase out new, non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) weighing 26 tonnes and under by 2035.

Under the law, all new HGVs sold in the UK are to be zero emission by 2040.

The announcement, made to coincide with Transport Day at COP26, means all new road vehicles in the UK will be zero emission within the next two decades.

Previously, the UK Government had announced that it would end the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030.

Olly Craughan, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at DPD Group UK said he supported the withdrawal of the selling of new, non-zero emission HGVs in the UK by 2035, as he did for the sale of new diesel/petrol final mile fleet vehicles by 2030.

“We would urge all parties involved in the supply of alternative green HGVs to press the fast forward button on their development plans so businesses like ourselves can make the transition as soon as possible,” he said.

“DPD is one of the brands leading the way on the decarbonisation of fleets but bringing down the cost of green HGVs and creating adequate supply will be essential to the UK hitting this target.”

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) also welcomed the Government announcement.

According to Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney, use cases of HGVs vary significantly and he welcomed the Government’s intention to consult on derogations that will enable what was described as a fair and achievable transition.

“The BVRLA looks forward to working with the Government on the delivery plan that will be essential in ensuring the UK road transport network can be decarbonised successfully,” said Keaney.

“The approach must be comprehensive, particularly around HGVs where the barriers remain huge,” he said.

“The recent funding that was announced to support trials of zero emission technology for the sector is a very positive step, and we eagerly await the clarity this will bring to help meet the phase-out dates.”

The phase out dates would help provide logistics businesses and manufacturers, according to Logistics UK, with “much-needed certainty” on the industry’s path to decarbonisation.

Michelle Gardner, Head of Public Policy at Logistics UK, however, noted the proposed dates will only be attainable if the Government provides the right support.

“Our members need to see a nationwide network of recharging and refuelling infrastructure put in place, effective and affordable vehicles made readily available for all, and fairer charging arrangements for the necessary power upgrades to commercial premises,” she said.

“Certain specialist HGVs, or the jobs they are used for, present additional challenges in the move to zero tailpipe emission vehicles, so derogations to allow technologies longer to develop are welcome,” said Gardner.

“With this exception, only zero tailpipe emission HGVs can be sold beyond these dates; we are disappointed that low carbon fuelled vehicles will not be available for sale after 2040.”

Gardner said these fuels can act as effective, interim solutions while the technology for zero tailpipe emission HGVs matures.

“Many of our members are keen to utilise these low-carbon alternatives,” she said.

“Logistics UK is therefore urging the Government to give confidence to operators looking to invest in low carbon fuels through tax incentives and a clear policy framework.”

As part of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, the Government and the Department for Transport have announced a £20million investment to support industry to develop cost-effective, zero emission HGVs and refuelling infrastructure across the UK.

CNG Fuels, the UK’s largest supplier of alternative low-carbon fuels for HGVs, has already announced plans to host hydrogen fuel trials across its rapidly expanding UK network of public access biomethane refuelling stations to support the future decarbonisation of HGVs.

Meanwhile, the UK Government also unveiled a new design for electric vehicle (EV) charge points, which it suggests, hopefully, could become as iconic as the Great British post box, London bus or black cab.

Showcased in the UK Pavilion at COP26 and designed together with the Royal College of Art and PA Consulting, the concept prioritises inclusivity and ease of use, designed with consumers, local government, accessibility groups and industry.


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