UK Government Takes on Tractor Trailer Emissions

The British government has launched a new £9.5 million plab to help the nation’s community of road haulage (AKA tractor trailer) drivers cut back on carbon emissions, save money and protect the environment at the same time. The goal of the initiative is ultimately to increase the number of electric and biofuel vehicles on the road while also fostering adoption of cleaner, high-performance engines in the meantime.

According to the Department for Transport (DFT), the new plans will be developed in tandem with the Technology Strategy Board. The first phase of the project is a trial scheme where commercial-heavy-goods drivers will receive incentives to organise groups of truckers to adopt alternative and dual-fuel tanks, specifically those with hybrid and electronic capabilities. The DFT went on to say that it will cover a portion of the cost between older vehicles and more environmentally-friendly alternatives, and operators will recoup the rest of their upfront costs through fuel savings.

Mike Penning, the Transport Minister, said supporting the low carbon vehicles market is a key priority for the current coalition government and explained, “The trial will be crucial to enabling heavy-goods vehicle operators to access the necessary refuelling infrastructure to support low carbon vehicles. This will improve confidence in low carbon technologies, encouraging more companies to get involved.”

As demonstrated in our recently-released Staveley Head Biofuel Infographic, it’s clear that the uptake of alternative energy sources is growing on a global scale, even if the UK is lagging and only producing 22 percent of its own biofuel supplies. However, there are a number of other initiatives in place around the country that are already delivering results on an ecological scale.

In the north-east of England alone, investments into low carbon transport technology worth upwards of £40 million were announced by firms across the region. The Northern Echo reported that Caterpillar’s County Durham truck plant was launching a “carbon busting project,” while nearby Nissan and Gateshead College would be partnering together to develop a research centre. Meanwhile, transport organisation Arriva bought 98 low-emission buses worth £26.7 million.

In the West Midlands, road transport accounts for around 24 percent of carbon emissions in the region’s biggest city, Birmingham. The city council is actively and publicly working to reduce emissions and meet a 60 percent CO2 reduction target by 2026. As part of this drive, it is working with Centro, National Express and Network Rail to improve and streamline public transport options.

Of course, there are plenty of benefits for running low-carbon fleets due to rules already laid down by the government. Indeed, vehicles with CO2 emissions of up to 100g/km are exempt from road tax, while those between 101 and 110g/km only have to pay £20. A £30 levy is in place for vehicles from 111 to 120g/km, before there is a major jump to £95 for vehicles between 121 and 130g/km of CO2.

The TSB believes that complementing existing rules, as well as local and national initiatives, is a great way to move forward and wants to form links with more small and medium-sized firms as well as larger enterprises. The programme is open to companies of any size and the trial will run for around two years, allowing the organisation’s experts to gather and analyse information. Operators will also be free to keep any low carbon vehicles purchased under the scheme, including refuelling and charging hubs.

Paul Everitt, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), was especially pleased with the announcement from the government. “The funding will accelerate industry’s understanding and use of a variety of low carbon technologies while helping to develop alternative fuel infrastructures across the country,” he said.

[Image credit: toddwshaffer, Flickr]

This is a guest post from Staveley Head, providers of specialist insurance products. Proud to remain a family owned and operated business, Staveley Head continues to grow in size and stature despite the constraints of a difficult economic market.

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