London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been urged to back gas-powered HGVs to improve air quality, by former development minister Mike Foster.

Earlier this month, a Department for Transport-backed study showed that gas engines gave significant improvements in air quality over their diesel counterparts.

Foster now runs a not-for-profit association working in the energy sector - the Energy and Utilities Alliance (NGVN) - which includes the Natural Gas Vehicle Network.

The NGVN claims that this study provides the evidential base for the Mayor to signal that gas-powered HGVs should be the means of keeping Londoners supplied with its goods.

In his letter to the Mayor, Foster points out that HGVs account for 16% of UK road transport greenhouse gases and 21% of road transport NOx emissions, yet make up just 5% of vehicle miles travelled and less than 2% of vehicle numbers.

The report published by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, suggests that compared to a diesel Euro 6 engine, a gas equivalent reduces NOx by 41% and NO2 emissions by 74%.

Foster said: “Sadiq has made a great start to his mayoral term and having worked closely with him, I know he is determined to do what is right for Londoners. I also know he looks at the evidence when making decisions.

“That is why the case for gas-powered engines to replace diesel is so compelling. The evidence on air quality is clear. Having gas HGVs in London is better than diesel. The vehicles are also quieter and have lower carbon emissions too.

“The Mayor of London cannot only help improve local air quality he can also set the agenda across the UK. Our network is available to meet him and his team if they need any further information.”