Government confirms all new HGVs zero emission by 2040

Transport Day at COP26 brought with it news that all new heavy goods vehicles in the UK will be zero-emission by 2040, with the UK government confirming plans that will mean an end to the sale of all non-zero emission vehicles in the next two decades with a previously announced phase out of UK sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 as reported in our article ‘Ban on petrol and diesel cars sooner than expected’.

Becoming the first country in the world, according to the DfT to commit to phasing out new, non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles weighing 26 tonnes and under by 2035, by 2040 all new HGVs sold in the UK will be zero emission.

More support needed to meet the target

In response, Michelle Gardner, head of public policy at Logistics UK, commented: “The announcement of phase-out dates for new, non-zero emission HGVs at the tailpipe, such as those run on diesel, will help provide logistics businesses and manufacturers with much-needed certainty on the industry’s path to decarbonisation.

“But these dates will only be attainable if the government provides the right support: our members need to see a nationwide network of recharging and refuelling infrastructure put in place, effective and affordable vehicles made readily available for all, and fairer charging arrangements for the necessary power upgrades to commercial premises.

“Certain specialist HGVs, or the jobs they are used for, present additional challenges in the move to zero tailpipe emission vehicles, so derogations to allow technologies longer to develop are welcome. With this exception, only zero tailpipe emission HGVs can be sold beyond these dates; we are disappointed that low carbon fuelled vehicles will not be available for sale after 2040.

“These fuels can act as effective, interim solutions while the technology for zero tailpipe emission HGVs matures; many of our members are keen to utilise these low-carbon alternatives. Logistics UK is therefore urging the government to give confidence to operators looking to invest in low carbon fuels through tax incentives and a clear policy framework.”

Consultation needed for a fair and achievable transition

“It’s vital that regulations acknowledge the different challenges experienced from one vehicle type to another,” commented British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) chief executive, Gerry Keaney.

“Usage of HGVs vary significantly, so we welcome the government’s intention to consult on derogations that will enable a fair and achievable transition. The BVRLA looks forward to working with the government on the delivery plan that will be essential in ensuring the UK road transport network can be decarbonised successfully.

“The approach must be comprehensive, particularly around HGVs where the barriers remain huge. The recent funding that was announced to support trials of zero emission technology for the sector is a very positive step, and we eagerly await the clarity this will bring to help meet the phase-out dates.”

Details of the Government commitment can be read here.