The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed the inclusion of freight in the government’s publication Driving the Future Today – A Strategy for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles in the UK, but remains concerned that not enough funding support or focus is being allocated to the HGV sector.
The strategy, authored by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), aims to deliver a growing fleet of ultra-low emission vehicles and to provide a network of charging points and other infrastructure to encourage uptake, although its focus is primarily on cars.
FTA climate change policy manager Rachael Dillon said: “There is no denying that the UK should be pushing ahead with making our cars more carbon efficient, but HGVs provide a vital role in delivering the goods for our economy and also need to decarbonise.
“In order for the UK to see a significant uptake of alternatively fuelled or low carbon HGVs, we need more financial support and incentives. Historically though, funding has been mainly allocated to private car users.”
The Department for Transport has recently pledged an additional £500m to fund the provision of ultra-low emission vehicles and supporting infrastructure up to 2020.
Previously, vans have also been a recipient of funding through plug-in van grants, which is welcomed as many goods are delivered using this mode. To date, however, just £6.5m has been allocated to HGVs to help fleet operators to utilise alternative fuels and low carbon technologies.
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles is set to launch a call for evidence later in 2013 to inform the development of the 2015-2020 package of support for ultra-low emission vehicles.
FTA said it welcomed the strategy’s acknowledgement of the challenges for take-up of ultra-low emission technologies for HGVs and the commitment to look further at incentives for the sector.
It said it would like to see the inclusion of more funding options from government for HGVs, to ensure that freight can contribute to carbon reduction.