UK moves to decarbonise freight sector

The UK is to pump millions into a new project aimed at increasing the number of zero emission trucks on the country’s roads.

The announcement of the £200 million investment comes as part of a week of Government action to support the sector.

With heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) alone contributing 20% to all transport emissions across the UK, the Government funding announced yesterday will be invested across four innovative green projects to roll out up to 370 zero emission HGVs and help set road freight on the path towards net zero, driving innovation and creating new jobs.

Delivered in partnership with Innovate UK, part of the investment will deliver around 57 refuelling and electric charging sites, “providing the crucial infrastructure to help the haulage sector decarbonise”, according to a government spokesperson.

Roads minister Richard Holden visited Voltempo in Birmingham, whose eFREIGHT 2030 project is set to create up to 200 new jobs by 2030 and provide Birmingham with one of the UK’s first electric vehicle charging hubs dedicated to HGVs.

The funding will also help grocery companies such as Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer lower their transport emissions while protecting them from rising delivery costs associated with changing petrol and diesel prices.

The government said decarbonising the freight sector is a key part of building a sustainable future for the industry and achieving our net zero commitments in a fair and pragmatic way which lowers costs, creates jobs and grows the economy.

Holden said: “Freight and logistics are the beating heart of our economy and it is only right that we celebrate the sector so that it gets the recognition and support it deserves.

“From boosting zero emission tech across freight to attracting the future generation of talent to the industry, we are working hard to drive innovation, create jobs and grow the economy by building a brighter, more innovative future for one of our most crucial industries.”

UK decarbonisation minister Jesse Norman said: “The UK is at the forefront of the global transition to net zero, and today marks another important milestone to decarbonise freight, one of the economy’s most vital industries.

“That’s why I’m pleased to reveal that we’re investing £200 million to roll out 370 zero emission trucks, and a further £2.4 million to pioneer green tech through the Freight Innovation Fund, as we work closely with the sector to create new jobs, grow the economy and reach net zero by 2050.”

Richard Smith, Managing Director of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), said the investment would be a boost to its members.

“We strongly welcome today’s announcement from the Government on the zero emission HGV and infrastructure demonstrator programme,” he added. “The £200 million commitment Ministers are putting into this demonstrator significantly helps to de-risk the transition to Net Zero. The real-world demonstrators will answer many of the practical questions operators have and, in turn, give our members the confidence to invest in the zero emission lorries needed to drive down carbon emissions from our sector.”

This week has also seen the publication of the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate. This sets out the percentage of new zero emission cars and vans that manufacturers will be required to produce each year up to 2030 as part of a new pragmatic and realistic pathway to 100% zero emission vehicle sales from 2035.