Hauliers demand clear roadmap to net zero transition

Haulage firms in the UK have called for the government to deliver greater clarity and certainty in how it sees the sector’s journey to net zero.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has made the call in response to the government’s call for evidence on the logistics industry’s needs when it comes to its transition to a zero emissions future.

The RHA has responded by calling for an HGV and coach infrastructure plan that supports the needs of operators on the journey to net zero.
It added commercial vehicle operators need investment in charging and fuelling infrastructure to be prioritised to support the transition from fossil fuels.

Hauliers and coach operators say support for infrastructure at depots should be prioritised first, followed by public location charging (e.g. motorway service areas), and then end-destination charging.

These early findings come after extensive RHA consultation with members and the wider sector ahead of a Department for Transport (DfT) call for evidence on the infrastructure needs of the industry.

Chris Ashley, RHA Policy Lead – Environment and Vehicles, said: “We welcome the DfT’s call for evidence to increase understanding of our industry’s practical needs and challenges as we transition to net zero.

“We’d like to thank our haulage and coach members for their input in helping us articulate a broad, diverse and detailed industry picture to take to government to support infrastructure planning.

“We must be clear that these are initial findings and that the picture will evolve in the years ahead; ongoing collaboration is key to ensure our industry has the right support on its decarbonisation journey taking into account its diverse needs.

“Businesses will need clarity and certainty to be able to invest in the right technology to operate viably and support economic growth. This will include whether to switch to battery or hydrogen.
“We will continue to engage with our industry and stakeholders on developing and supporting infrastructure solutions through our Net Zero Forum.”

The RHA has made seven recommendations to DfT on supporting commercial vehicle sector decarbonisation following the Government’s £200m investment in the “Zero Emission HGV and Infrastructure Demonstrator” (ZEHID) programme:

  • An annual consultation with industry to continue building the evidence base needed.
  • A nationwide audit of where all HGV depots are regardless of vehicle numbers are located to inform charging needs.
  • Government should extend Project Rapid to provide HGV/coach recharging facilities at motorway service areas and other public locations.
  • Establishment of an “advisory group” consisting of lead industry stakeholders to steer the direction of ZEHID.
  • Vehicle trials beyond ZEHID should be encouraged to build knowledge and understanding.
  • A “roadmap” is developed by the Government to give clarity and certainty on how delivery against the HGV phase-out dates of 2035 and 2040 will be achieved.
  • Government support for the use of low-carbon fuels like hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) or compressed natural gas (CNG) as a transitional fuel. This is so all HGV and coach operators can start decarbonising now with confidence whilst zero emission infrastructure is put in place.

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