The Freight Transport Association is pleased that the freight sector has been identified as a recipient in the government’s £500 million funding package for ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) announced today (29 April).
Previously HGVs had not been supported in this scheme. The association has been arguing for the need for financial support for the HGV sector to help invest in alternative fuels and technologies that will reduce carbon emissions and help improve air quality. FTA responded to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles’ (OLEV) call for evidence on how the new funding package for the period 2015-2020 should be allocated, highlighting the opportunities for the HGV sector to reduce emissions by utilising gas and biomethane as an alternative to diesel.
The announcement sets out £4 million in funding for HGV gas refuelling infrastructure. Gas is the most viable option for alternative fuel to reduce HGVs’ environmental footprint. The package also continues funding for ultra low emission vans, and raises the possibility of opening this part of the funding to commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.
FTA’s Head of Urban Logistics, Christopher Snelling said:
“This is a welcome development. It is good to see that the freight sector has been recognised within the funding package allocation and that there is acknowledgment by government that heavy goods vehicles have as many challenges as cars in reducing emissions. We anticipate that the funding package will contribute to increasing the uptake of gas and biomethane HGVs as the current lack of public refuelling infrastructure is one of the major factors preventing the market from taking off. The HGV funding is a relatively small part of the package, but we hope more can be allocated in future to this important area.
“Ultra low emission vans are not yet widely commercially viable, so the continued support in this area is vital to help develop this market.”
HGVs play a vital role in delivering the goods for our economy and it is important that funding incentives are available for alternatives such as gas to help the freight sector to maximise its ongoing emissions reduction.