The announcement by Boris Johnson on 4 February that the deadline for banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans will be brought forward to 2035 has attracted comments from both the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the Road Haulage Association (RHA).
The ban, which will also include the sale of hybrid vehicles, will now take place five years earlier than previously planned and is part of the UK government’s commitment to become a net zero carbon country by 2050.
Commenting, RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett said, “Of course we all want to tackle climate change, but it has to be done in a realistic and manageable way. Changing the UK’s car fleet to electric is one thing, they are increasingly available, with improving range and infrastructure that will work for users. For vans this is less clear cut because payloads and duty cycles are much more demanding.”
He continued, “The changeover process for heavy goods vehicles is different again. Research into alternative fuels is already widespread. However, because of the nature of the road freight industry and the distances covered, there is still a very long way to go before an efficient, cost-effective alternative to diesel-powered trucks can be found.”
Christopher Snelling, Head of UK Policy at FTA said, “ In the view of FTA, the 2035 target is very ambitious for the van market; unless the government takes urgent action to solve the challenges around power supply and the availability of electric vehicles, it will not be an achievable feat. FTA and its members fully support the government’s ambition to decarbonise the road transport industry, but we need to see urgent action from government to ensure the right infrastructure is in place and the market is ready.” The FTA, while broadly supporting the government’s efforts to decarbonise the transport industry, believes the 2035 target will be difficult to achieve.
According to FTA, the key issue is that the power supply to the depots and homes where vans are currently stationed is not sufficient to charge the vehicles and is calling on the UK government to share its strategy on how it plans to power the UK’s fleet of millions of vans.
Photos: Christopher Snelling, FTA. Richard Burnett, RHA.