Call for detail from parties on CV net zero strategy

By Categories: NewsPublished On: Tuesday 18 June 2024

As the general election approaches, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has warned that more detail is required from individual political parties on how commercial vehicles will transition to net zero.

“Where net zero is mentioned [in manifestos], the focus is on decarbonising energy and insulating homes,” said Chris Ashley, RHA policy lead for environment and vehicles.

“Where transport is mentioned, any detail is predictably focused on cars – both the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos commit to reinstating the 2030 phase-out date for sales of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars with a promise to speed up charging infrastructure.”

He continued: “The lack of detail for commercial vehicles represents both a concern but also an opportunity. The concern is that freight and coach operations continue to be overlooked by the politicians.

“As both are vital to the economic and social wellbeing of our society, this must change and the RHA will step up its campaign to ensure the needs of freight and coaches are front-and-central in the minds of policymakers.”

Mr Ashley added that the RHA would continue to drive the agenda through a pragmatic approach and its Net Zero Forum, centred around five themes – reducing the costs of net zero, energy infrastructure investment, ensuring zero emission vehicles performance, upskilling the workforce, and mindset change.

“The ‘to do’ list for the incoming government will be long,” he warned.

“Chief among them will be how the astronomical cost of decarbonising HGVs, estimated to be £100bn, can be managed so that our vital small businesses, who represent 95 per cent of our sector, feel supported.

“We look to see how the excellent work by the Department for Transport to invest in vehicle trials and scope where energy infrastructure investments are needed are taken forward.”

He added that urgent decisions would also need to be taken to ensure a fit-for-purpose planning system that would expedite, rather than hindering, the net zero transition.

“Ongoing issues from the outgoing government need addressing swiftly – such as the use of low carbon fuels in road transport, phase-out dates for coaches and ensuring that vehicle weight regulations evolve to accommodate payload loss,” Mr Ashley continued.

“We will continue our campaign for a roadmap from the new government that affirms how all these issues will be managed.

“The introduction of new technologies however also creates new and exciting opportunities. We will look to see how autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence can help make freight and coach operations more efficient and drive down emissions.

“Informed by our members and their needs, the RHA will continue to work with our many partners across industry and national, devolved and local government to ensure these many issues are resolved satisfactorily.”