Government lays out 'greenprint' for decarbonisation – what does it mean for the logistics trade?

Wed 14 Jul 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

green lorry

The Department of Transport has published a ‘greenprint’ to decarbonise all modes of domestic transport by 2050, including logistics vehicles involved in supply chains.

Minister Grant Shapps announced the plan today (14 July) which aims to cut emissions across all transport types and create thousands of green jobs.

The announcement represents the latest ambitious pledge by the government ahead of its hosting of the COP26 summit in Glasgow later this year.

Lorry plan

As part of the vision, the government intends to phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol HGVs by 2040, subject to consultation.

Smaller trucks and vans face a 2035 phase-out date, along with cars and motorbikes.

Clarity

Elizabeth de Jong, director of policy at Logistics UK, said logistics companies were already embracing the need to decarbonise and said the plan would provide “clarity on the steps they must take on the pathway to net zero”.

Consultation on HGVs should enable business to move forwards with confidence, she added.

Sandy Parsonage, director of supply chain and logistics for Sainsbury’s, also welcomed the plan and said it looked forward to consulting with government.

“We are already working across our supply chain to explore alternative fuels and develop a zero carbon fleet of the future,” he added.

Green paper

A green paper has been published setting out the regulatory framework requiring vehicle manufacturers to improve fuel efficiency. A delivery plan includes timelines to 2035.

The aerospace industry is invited to contribute to a ‘Jet Zero’ consultation.

Other commitments include:

  • The government’s fleet of 40,000 cars and vans will be zero emission by 2027 - three years earlier than planned
  • Legislation this year to ensure that all new private EV charge points meet smart charging standards to save consumers money
  • A rail environment policy statement will set the direction on environment issues

Domestic only

According to environment news site, edie.net, the plan has been delayed for months and covers only domestic transport, and not international shipping or aviation.

The EU is set to revamp its emission trading system (ETS) to include shipping for the first time, however, reports CNBC.

Wire delivery

The Times claims that electric HGVs could be charged on the move by overhead wires on new ‘e-highways’ within two decades. 

Grant Shapps told the paper that eliminating emissions from HGVs was more challenging than with cars, vans and buses, many of which are already powered by electricity and hydrogen.

The DfT will invest £20m in trial schemes to accelerate the transition to zero-emission, including the overhead wires and hydrogen HGVs.

Aspects of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan could be brought forward if a “faster transition seems feasible”.

E-trucks ready

The Telegraph reports that most truck manufacturers have electric prototypes just a few years from being on the roads.

Their feasibility, however, will depend on the readiness of the country’s charging infrastructure, especially given that they can run for only a dozen hours a day.

Attainable

Alex Veitch, general manager at Logistics UK, said the industry welcomed the lorry announcements but added: “These suggested dates will only be attainable if there are sufficient, cost-vehicles and a robust, nationwide charging or refuelling network available for operators to use from day one.”

The Telegraph also claims that government is looking at a system of road tolls to replace lost revenue from fuel duty as vehicles switch from fossil fuels.