The UK is one of the largest freight distributors in the world, with over 1.6m tonnes moved in and out the country each year. 95% of this is by road and sea. Such a level of shipping comes at a cost.
Road and rail freight are currently responsible for over 6% of all greenhouse gases produced by the UK each year. However, with the continued growth of the freight, without any action this number is expected to increase.
Climate change is on everyone’s minds at the moment, both domestically and commercially. Freight businesses are starting to take major steps to reduce their carbon footprint.
According to Andy Green of the National Infrastructure Commission -
“Unless the government commits now to working with the industry, the impact of freight on congestion and carbon emissions will only increase, damaging the quality of life of communities up and down the country.”
“Freight can no longer be a mere afterthought, but must be factored into long term transport plans, with a coordinated approach across government departments to ensure it doesn’t slip through the cracks.”
In response to the issue, the government has resolutely stated that by the year 2040, the sale of diesel HGV’s will no longer be legal in the UK.
The National Infrastructure Commission have been asked to spend the next eighteen months establishing a system detailing how the proposed initiative is to take shape. The proposal must give the freight industry time to adapt, reducing the carbon imprint whilst not compromising on the service the UK freight industry provides.
Zero-fuel vans are one option to reduce the increasing levels of carbon emissions. Vans however only represent a small part of the problem.
The excessive levels of congestion that are created by traffic jams are one of the largest, causal effects of increased emissions. Steps are being taken to find a solution.
Another suggestion for reducing CO2 is the optimisation of existing capacity, although the government have deemed the widening and extending of roads as not a ‘viable long term solution’.
As a result of this, steps are being taken to evaluate how best to make the most of road usage, be this via the use of congestion charges, tolls etc.
The number of non-diesel HGVs are growing with hybrid trucks increasing in popularity. It is currently unknown whether the restriction will also affect hybrid vehicles.
Should the new laws come in to place, it is expected that vehicle manufacturers will start offering more sustainable eco vans. In the meantime, should you be considering a new HGV it is worth being aware of these forthcoming changes.
If you are unsure of how to start, check out our New Commercial Vans of 2019 article for some recommendations of more sustainable options on the market.