Government confirms fossil-fuel phase out 13 May 2022

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On 12 May the government reaffirmed its plans for a diesel truck phase out starting in 2035 for vehicles under 26t gvw, and has announced large-scale trials for zero-emission vehicles.

The government said: "Confirming these dates now provides market certainty, giving the logistics and automotive industries time to plan investments and increase the supply of zero emission HGVs."

That comment came within a published a response to the July 2021 consultation on phase-out dates for the sale of new, non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles (available via

A Transport Engineer summary of the response is below.

1. Phase-out dates confirmed: new, non-zero emission HGVs less than or equal to 26 tonnes will be introduced from 2035 and, from 2040, all new HGVs sold in the UK must be zero emission. It says: "We are confident that, with the right policy framework, zero emission technologies will scale up to meet even the most challenging HGV use cases."

Also published is a call for evidence for 'limited' exemptions to 2035 phase-out published:

It notes that the phase-out does not apply to bus and coach, fire engines, special-purpose vehicles or off-road vehicles (N2G; N3G). ALso, the phase-out does not prevent the use of previously-registered diesel vehicles, or the secondhand sale of such vehicles.

2. Extension of plug-in truck grants announced until 2024/25. Grants are up to 20% of purchase price, up to £25,000. More details:

3. Demonstration programme launched to gather evidence about zero-emission vehicles. Zero emission road freight HGV demonstrators programme will trial three zero-emission HGV technologies on UK roads, beginning with battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. An industrial tender to participate will be issued later this year.

4. Public refuelling and recharging network plans are being developed through the Freight Council:

5. Low-carbon fuels, such as biomethane, CNG and LNG will be prohibited at the phase-out, except for fuel-cell vehicles using renewable hydrogen. This decision was made on air pollution grounds. It adds: "We recognise that some LCFs, such as biomethane when produced through anaerobic digestion of manure or waste feedstocks, can achieve net zero carbon emissions over their lifecycle. However regardless of feedstock these fuels still produce tailpipe emissions, making them unsuitable for urban areas." A low carbon fuels strategy will be published later this year to clarify the government's position to 2050.

6. Door opened for hydrogen combustion. The government said: "We recognise the interest in hydrogen combustion to reduce carbon emissions. At present all internal combustion engines produce harmful exhaust emissions and would therefore be subject to end of sale dates for new, non-zero emission HGVs. However, if technology developments enable renewable hydrogen to be used in combustion engines with zero harmful tailpipe emissions then we would welcome this development."

6. Weight increases of 1t and 2t for zero-emission HGVs, depending on type, to account for battery weight will go ahead. However, these increases will not exceed 44t for six-axle combinations. The government said: "We recognise that weight limit increases beyond 44 tonnes and changes to axle weight could be helpful to operators. However, these limits are in place to avoid problems with road structures and excessive road wear and are not currently under review. The issue of axle weights remains under review, but changes will not be pursued now."

William Dalrymple

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