Fleets will be able to take advantage of a cut of the funding for low emissions vehicles, as the government has made this available to heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).
A total of £4 million out of the £500 million project has been set aside to improve HGV gas refuelling infrastructure. The reason gas was selected is because it was agreed that this was the most viable option for lowering the carbon emissions produced by HGVs.
Additionally, it will also provide funding for low emissions vans. According to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), it is also possible that this funding could be opened up to commercial vehicles that weigh over 3.5 tonnes in the future.
The funding comes as freight transport has been recognised under the £500 million funding package set out by the government for ultra low emissions vehicles from the year 2015 to 2020.
In the past, HGVs were not supported under the scheme and the FTA had been arguing the case for their inclusion. It argued that the HGV sector needed support to invest in alternative fuels and technologies with a view to reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.
The Office for Low Emissions Vehicles said that more evidence needed to be provided before it could include freight transport under the funding package. In turn, the FTA responded by explaining how HGVs could take advantage of gas and biomethane fuels in place of diesel.
Head of urban logistics at the FTA Christopher Snelling said: "This is a welcome development. It is good to see that the freight sector has been recognised within the funding package allocation and that there is acknowledgment by government that heavy goods vehicles have as many challenges as cars in reducing emissions."
Mr Snelling noted that the funding for HGV represented only a small part of the amount that is available under the package but said that it is hoped that the freight transport sector will be able to leverage more in the future.
Posted by Danielle Barge