Government invests £200m in zero emission HGVs

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Transport minister Trudy Harrison has today announced government plans to invest £200m into a road freight demonstrator programme, which will see the launch of the “world’s largest” fleet of zero emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

Beginning later this year, the 3 year programme aims to help decarbonise the UK’s freight industry and will feature competitions for battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies, due to be launched soon.

The transition to cleaner trucks, in line with a pledge made at COP26 that all new HGVs will be zero emission by 2040, will not only help to improve air quality, but also reduce the country’s dependence on imported oil. It should also allow haulage companies to keep the price of goods down, thanks to the reduction in running costs of green vehicles, versus the fossil-fueled equivalents.

Launching the initiative, Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said:

“Our road freight industry is one of the most efficient in the world and contributes over £13 billion to the UK economy each year.

“But we must accelerate our journey towards our net zero goals, and we’re committed to leading the way globally on non-zero emission road vehicles.

“Our ambitious plans will continue to ensure food is stocked on the shelves and goods are supplied while eliminating fossil fuels from HGVs and making our freight sector green for good.”

The announcement follows the DfT’s zero emission road freight trials, which Innovate UK delivered last year, in which commercial vehicle manufacturer Leyland Trucks produced 20 DAF batter electric HGVs for use by public sector organisations, including the NHS and local authorities.

The DfT have also confirmed its’ intention to consult with the sector regarding potential exemptions to the 2035 phase out date for HGVs weighing up to 26 tonnes, in preparation for the 2040 target, which may need longer to transition to zero emission technologies.

Commenting on the announcement, Michelle Gardner, Acting Deputy Director – Public Policy, Logistics UK, said:

“Logistics businesses are committed to decarbonising their operations, but to ensure a smooth transition they need clarity on the path to zero tailpipe emission HGVs. The trials announced today will play a crucial role in identifying the right technological solutions to help enable this.

“Given the breadth of the vehicles used across the logistics sector and scale of innovation required to reach net zero Logistics UK is also pleased that government has launched a consultation to identify potential exemptions to the 2035 phase out date.”

Further details on the phase out of non zero emission HGVs can be found here.

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