Alex Veitch, Head of Multimodal Policy, FTA, talks to Transport Britain about the challenges of decarbonising the transport sector.
The full article, which can be found in issue 10 of Transport Britain, explains the steps that need to be taken in road, rail and air freight; here, Alex explains the view of the FTA regarding road freight.
Despite road transport being one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonise, it will be no exception to the need to eliminate GHG pollutants by 2050. In fact, the UK faces an immediate target of a 15% HGV GHG reduction by 2025 against 2015 levels. And following enhanced data on the health impacts of other emissions, such as oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter, there is additional pressure to improve local air quality.
The logistics industry has already begun making great strides towards decarbonisation, with many businesses trialling alternatively fuelled vehicles and low carbon technologies. While the future of vans and other light commercial vehicles lies in electrification – in the view of FTA – further investment and experimentation is needed before electric trucks can become a viable mass-market solution. The government also needs to invest in suitable infrastructure, including fast charging stations for electric vehicles across the road network and a nationwide upgrade of the National Grid. Councils should also encourage the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles and implement traffic management schemes.
In the meantime, the logistics sector has been devising and implementing emission-reduction strategies through the Logistics Emissions Reduction Scheme (LERS). Administered by FTA, LERS is a free to join industry initiative to record, report and reduce carbon emissions from freight transport. The scheme aggregates its members’ fuel usage and business activity data to establish a carbon footprint. It is open to all companies with at least one commercial vehicle; for more information or to join the scheme please visit http://lers.org.uk
Transporting goods by rail and water has the potential to reduce road miles significantly, with every freight train able to carry the same amount as up to 60 HGVs. But to motivate businesses to increase their use, further work needs to be done to increase the availability of rail and water freight; FTA lobbies on behalf of all its members to maximise the potential for these modes in the UK.