Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed the Department for Transport’s (DfT) pledge of an additional £500 million to fund the provision of ultra-low emissions vehicles and supporting infrastructure up to 2020 but the freight sector must benefit from this funding. The funding is announced in DfT’s new Roads Command Paper – Action for Roads with the objective of improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions.
DfT is currently investing £400 million up to 2016 to help the uptake of new vehicles, but the additional £500 million will support industry and consumers in the switch to the latest low-carbon technology. The Government anticipates there is likely to be a need for wide-reaching networks of rapid chargepoints and hydrogen fuelling stations.
Rachael Dillon, FTA Climate Change Policy Manager said:
“Investing in alternative fuels and low carbon technologies is extremely costly, so FTA welcomes Government’s commitment of additional funding to help encourage the take up of ultra-low emission vehicles. However, too often previous funding has been devoted to cars and vans. Freight provides a vital role in delivering the goods for the economy but it is a significant challenge to reduce carbon emissions. The sector needs support particularly with the provision of infrastructure for dual fuel hgvs and gas refuelling infrastructure in order to contribute to national carbon reduction targets.”
To date, much of Government’s existing funding has been reserved for electric technology which have limited application for hgvs. Instead, alternatives such as gas and ultimately biomethane is a key option to reduce emissions from hgvs. However just £11 million of Government funding was allocated to a Low Carbon Commercial Vehicle Trial in 2012.
Although FTA welcomes any funding from Government to help the uptake of low carbon hgv funding, the sector has largely been neglected, the recent announcement of additional funding provides an opportunity to significantly increase much needed support for the sector.
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles which is responsible for the provision of ultra-low emission vehicle funding is expected to publish a strategy later this year on how the funding will be delivered. FTA would like to see the inclusion of more funding options for hgvs within the strategy to ensure that freight can contribute to carbon reduction.