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FTA calls on government for green fuels and technologies

Freight Transport Association calls on government to provide financial support for take-up of green fuels and technologies.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has called on the government for support in creating a more widespread industry take-up of green fuels and technologies, by giving transport operators similar support to what has been given to the car industry.

The comments follow the release of the final figures from the Government’s Low Carbon Truck Trial this week, which put more than 350 gas-powered HGVs on the UK roads and supported over 15 public refuelling stations. Although the trial has given the industry  the opportunity to test alternative fuels to diesel, operators believe  that if financial support is not provided to help bridge the gap to large scale commercialisation, alternatively-fuelled truck numbers will decline.

Rachael Dillon, FTA’s Climate Change Policy Manager, said: “The new Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial announced over summer 2016 and the extension of the plug-in vehicle grant to vans over 3.5 tonnes were welcome moves to help the industry reduce its environmental impact. However, the majority of Government funding to date has been allocated to cars. The UK gas truck fleet makes up just 0.2 per cent of the overall truck fleet and there is potential for significant progress to be made in increasing these numbers. However, if the Government is serious about increasing the presence of ‘green’ trucks on our roads, it must ensure that it continues to help provide facilities and incentives for operators to use them.”

The FTA call for support in order to achieve further reductions in carbon emissions and improve air quality performance beyond Euro VI in the 2020s, including government policies that will support alternatives. The industry believes that high costs of vehicle conversions or purchasing ultra-low emission vehicles plus a lack of public refuelling infrastructure are significant barriers to putting greener trucks on the road.

Ms Dillon added: “It is crucial that renewable fuels such as biomethane can be utilised in trucks to bring bigger emission reductions, especially when there are limited options for heavier vehicles to decarbonise. Government must incentivise the production of biomethane for use as road transport fuel rather than through the heat sector”.

The DfT has recommended that the Government continue to support the development of gas vehicle infrastructure and gas powered vehicles following the results of Emissions Testing of Gas-Powered Commercial Vehicles this week.

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