Call for emissions-linked fuel rebate

By Categories: NewsPublished On: Monday 6 November 2023

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) last month urged the gov­ernment to incentivise hauliers and coach operators to shift to low-carbon fuels like hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) through the in­troduction of an emissions-linked rebate.

“A move to make low-carbon fuels such as HVO more cost ef­fective could help the industry accelerate its decarbonisation journey,” said the RHA. “Whilst zero-emission technologies are developed, low-carbon fuels can help operators reduce CO2 emis­sions by up to 90 per cent.”

The call for the rebate, which came ahead of the Chancellor’s autumn statement scheduled for 22 November, followed the news earlier in October that Green Bio­fuels Limited (GBF), said to be the UK’s largest supplier of renewa­ble HVO, had gone into adminis­tration.

HVO has been promoted by truck manufacturers as a quick and easy means of decarbonis­ing transport activities while us­ing existing vehicles. But in the absence of any duty concession from government, the fuel has re­mained more expensive for oper­ators than conventional mineral diesel.

GBF administrators EY told Transport Operator: “The Compa­ny has entered administration as it had insufficient funds to contin­ue trading. The Joint Administra­tors intend to continue to trade the business whilst they seek purchasers for the business and assets of the Company.”

Energy giant bp had an­nounced its acquisition of a 30 per cent stake in GBF last year, stating that its investment would: “support GBF’s growth as it works with businesses looking to tran­sition away from using traditional diesel fuel in their assets, such as transport vehicles, temporary generators and construction ma­chinery.”

The RHA additionally urged ministers to increase the funding band for heavy vehicle mechan­ic apprenticeships to £23,000, which it said could incentivise training providers to run pro­grammes amidst a growing short­age of mechanics. It also advocat­ed reform of the Apprenticeship Levy “into a more flexible Skills Levy” which could help address industry skills gaps – and plan­ning reforms to make it easier to secure permission for truck park­ing facilities, as well as ringfenced funding for lorry parking.