Ambitious plans to deliver zero emissions for HGVs in the short and long term have been outlined by the Department for Transport (DfT).
HGVs are crucial in the road and logistics sectors, sending goods and products all over the UK on a daily basis. These will need to travel in areas that are now starting to sprout up as ultra-low emission vehicle zones, which has the potential to dent the economy and the industry.
Typically, the emissions of these vehicles are damaging to the environment. This, and the fact they are so important to the ongoing success of a range of industries, means that the government knows it must outline viable zero emission solutions for those companies that are reliant on HGVs – something that is apparent in the Road to Zero Strategy.
The Strategy says: “HGVs are a major source of pollution – accounting for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions and 13% of nitrogen oxide emissions for road transport in 2016.”
The government is under no illusions as to how vital these vehicles are to the economy, commenting in the Road to Zero Strategy that “HGVs are the lifeblood of the UK economy, transporting goods to consumers and businesses.”
As a result of both of these points, the Road to Zero Strategy is committed to helping the HGV market by setting a clear pathway to reducing emissions from HGVs and progress to zero emission solutions.
Pathway to zero emission HGVs
The government’s long term goal is the “development and deployment of zero emission HGVs,” but there is a pragmatism about making this a reality; there has to be industry confidence that the technologies that produce zero emissions can operate successfully.
The government is committed to supporting R&D with that in mind, as well as real world trials and demonstrations, supporting the industry in the quest to capturing the economic benefits of these new technologies.
Already, HGV operators are putting measures in place to ensure a reduction in emissions in the short term. These include driver training, telematics, aerodynamic equipment and more efficient tyres.
All of these deliver marginal improvements in both fuel efficiency and environmental performance.
Other initiatives outlined include:
- A joint research project with Highways England which will identify and assess zero emission technologies that are suitable for HGVs on the UK road network
- A collaboration with the industry to deliver a new, ultra-low emission standard for trucks
- Further emissions testing of the latest natural gas HGVs in order to gather evidence to inform decisions on future government policy and support for natural gas as a potential near-term, lower emission fuel for HGVs.
Commitments both in the short and long term will, the government believe, give HGVs and the sectors that rely on them, the pathway required to achieve a zero emission future.