I come bearing great news for both hauliers and mother earth this month: the UK government has announced that they will subsidise funding for low emission vehicles. Better yet, this policy now includes HGVs. That’s right, you could finally be driving around in an environmentally friendly lorry and be free from the usual criticism that HGV operatives receive for polluting the planet.
Why Has The Package Been Put In Place?
This is very exciting news – some might say that it’s about time, too. As I’m sure you know, the road haulage sector is currently somewhat frustrated with the government, which criticised Heavy Good Vehicles for their output of particulates and CO2, but didn’t fund fuel-diverse vehicles in the commercial and haulage sector. Many think that they have not shown hauliers or drivers enough support, focusing almost exclusively on private cars. Fortunately, all that is now changing. The government has acknowledged that HGV drivers face the same struggles as motorists when it comes to decreasing their carbon footprint. For this reason, the freight industry will now receive part of the £500 million to invest in ultra-low emission vehicles. Let the celebrations begin!
The Funding Package
· How Much Will The Government Be Investing?
Let’s start with the question on everyone’s lips: how much will the haulage sector actually be getting? Well, the announcement states that, for the 2015-2020 period, £4 million will be set aside to help the haulage industry.
· What Are The Aims Of The Programme?
It seems like an obvious answer, but the main objective of this financial aid is to provide hauliers and motorists with low emission vehicles. The FTA hopes to reduce emissions by investing in alternative fuels and technologies, such as gas and bio-methane instead of diesel. They believe that gas is the most feasible and most practical alternative to fuel, which will help reduce polluting emissions.
· How Will Funding Be Allocated?
The financial aid will continue backing ultra-low emission vans. However, the additional £4 million that have now been set aside for the haulage industry will help hauliers and drivers be more environmentally friendly in two ways: by funding gas refuelling infrastructure and by investing in 3.5 tonnes of low emission vehicles.
As I mentioned, gas is the most viable alternative to diesel and fuel. The former has not been used much in the past because there was a severe lack of public refuelling infrastructure, and not because it is inferior to diesel. The market just could not get its feet off the ground. Thanks to the government’s financial support, though, this will hopefully all change now.
You might also be wondering why an investment in heavier, 3.5-tonne low emission vehicles is so vital. While we already have eco-friendly vans, low-pollution lorries are not commercially viable yet, so this money will help develop the market. You could be driving an environmentally friendly vehicle within the next five years.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides a valuable service, updating members with the latest information on issues affecting road safety, fuel costs, technology, low emission vehicles and other news from the industry. Matching delivery work with available vehicles, over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.