Gov invests £200m in zero emission trucks 19 October 2023

UK government zero-emission trucks

The UK government is providing a £200 million boost to decarbonise freight vehicles and create jobs as part of a week of action to support the sector.

The government funding will be invested across four green projects to roll out up to 370 zero emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

Delivered in partnership with Innovate UK, the investment from the zero emission HGV and infrastructure demonstrator programme will also deliver around 57 refuelling and electric charging sites.

Roads minister Richard Holden visited Voltempo in Birmingham, one of the recipients of the £200 million, whose eFreight 2030 project is set to create up to 200 new jobs by 2030 and provide Birmingham with one of the UK’s first electric vehicle charging hubs dedicated to HGVs.

The funding will help grocery companies such as Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer lower their transport emissions while protecting them from rising delivery costs associated with changing petrol and diesel prices. This could help prevent price hikes across supermarkets, allowing people to save money on food and groceries to help with the cost of living.

Richard Smith, managing director of the RHA, said: “We strongly welcome today’s announcement from the Government on the zero emission HGV and infrastructure demonstrator programme.

“The £200 million commitment ministers are putting into this demonstrator significantly helps to de-risk the transition to Net Zero. The real-world demonstrators will answer many of the practical questions operators have and, in turn, give our members the confidence to invest in the zero emission lorries needed to drive down carbon emissions from our sector.”

The measures come during a week of action from the Government, including ministers visiting multiple freight stakeholders, to understand how the sector can continue to play a role in creating new jobs, growing the economy and helping the UK get closer to net zero.

This week has also seen the publication of the zero-emission vehicle mandate. This sets out the percentage of new zero emission cars and vans that manufacturers will be required to produce each year up to 2030 as part of a new pathway to 100% zero emission vehicle sales from 2035.

To further drive innovation in freight and logistics, an additional £2.4 million has also been unlocked through the second round of the Freight Innovation Fund (FIF). As part of the fund, the FIF Accelerator – open for applications from today – will help up to 10 SMEs develop new ways to make freight greener.

The £7 million, three-year FIF seeks to scale up and roll out technology across the industry to decarbonise freight. It is part of the Future of Freight Plan, a vision to help the industry improve planning, boost innovation in data and technology and facilitate the transition to net zero.

Freight Week will also see the launch of two Calls for Evidence to continue exploring new ways for the freight industry to decarbonise and become more efficient.

The first is the Call for Evidence to inform and support the development of the zero emission HGV and coach infrastructure strategy which is due to be published in 2024. This will ensure the delivery of the infrastructure required to meet the 2035 and 2040 phase out dates for non-zero emission HGVs.

The second is the Call for Evidence on volumetric concrete mixers which will consider whether a temporary weight allowance should remain, be removed or amended for the vehicles beyond the current deadline of 2028.

The Call for Evidence will consider the best options to reduce waste, limit costs and ensure fair competition while taking into account how to continue ensuring road safety.

With the department providing approximately £20 million per year in freight revenue grants, the Government will also consider how to boost freight across a variety of modes.

The Mode Shift Revenue Support and Waterborne Freight Grant will be reviewed to explore how to continue helping the sector decarbonise by shifting freight from road to rail or water through the two schemes.

October also marks the start of Year 2 of Generation Logistics, backed by £645,000 in Government funding across two years, which will be led by CILT and Logistics UK.

Following a successful first year, Generation Logistics will now focus on raising awareness of the logistics sector and its career opportunities specifically among young people in schools and colleges, in an effort to boost recruitment and retention of a more skilled and diverse workforce.

Transport Engineer

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