A new report from the National Infrastructure Commission says that the UK Government should ban the sale of new HGVs running on diesel from 2040. The report's publication coincided with a decision by the European Parliament to pass legislation to mandate that EU-based truck and lorry manufacturers will have to cut CO2 emissions for new vehicles by 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2030.
The NIC report says that the development of hydrogen and battery HGVs is already well advanced and vehicles are expected to be commercially available in the early 2020s.
Sir John Armitt, the Commission Chairman, said the move was necessary to provide the freight industry with the certainty it needs to invest in new, green technologies and prepare for an environmentally friendly future.
The report says that the ban on new sales of diesel HGVs should form part of wider efforts to support the entire road and rail freight industry to become carbon-free by 2050, and also to help ease worsening congestion.
Measures should include the Government setting a clear framework for freight at all levels of the UK’s planning system to ensure the needs of the sector are considered in land use, local plans and new developments.
The report recommends that Ministers should set out within the next two years how they plan to ban all sales of new petrol and diesel HGVs by 2040 and begin preparing the nation’s infrastructure for this transition.
NIC Commissioner Bridget Rosewell OBE said: "Heavy goods traffic on our roads could increase sharply over the coming decades, and distances covered by light goods vehicles like vans could come close to doubling.
“Clear, decisive action – including a ban on new diesel HGV sales and tackling emissions from rail freight – is needed now if we’re to have a zero carbon freight industry by 2050, which could help us to meet our stretching climate change targets.”
The Road Haulage Association, responding to the report (quoted by Air Quality News) said recommendations for reducing road freight emissions are ‘not credible given there are no viable alternatives on the market.’
The NIC report's publication coincided with news that the European Parliament has voted to pass legislation to mandate that EU-based truck and lorry manufacturers will have to cut CO2 emissions for new vehicles by 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2030. The legislation will also force manufacturers to ensure 2% of all new vehicles sold are zero or low-emission by 2025.
According to EU data vans, trucks and lorries account for 27% of road transport CO2 emissions and almost 5% of EU greenhouse gas emissions. Since 1990, truck and lorry vehicle emissions have increased by 25%, mainly because of an increase in road freight traffic.
The legislation will apply to the UK after, and if, it leaves the European Union, as the Government has already said it will match any EU emissions standards post-Brexit.