The Clean Air Strategy was the result of losing a court battle earlier in the year, brought against Government by Client Earth. It was argued that the proposals in the previous version did not go far enough to reduce air pollution, therefore this new strategy is their attempt to firm up their action.
Mike Foster, CEO of NGVN, said: ‘The Government have made many welcome commitments in this Clean Air Strategy, including more funding for clean air zones, ULEVs, air pollution alerts, and to equip health professionals and embed air quality into their education and training. However, when it comes to regulation, they are still ‘erring’ on the side of caution and avoiding any meaningful governance’.
We believe that a charging aspect against HGVs should be a legal, regulatory part of any clean air zone, and not simply an option, the Government appears to be too cautious about disturbing freight routes. NGVN believe that this is the wrong approach and that businesses need consistency and certainty, not speculation and different rules for different clean air zones.
The UK has the opportunity to lead the world in the development, manufacture, and use of technologies, systems, and services that tackle air pollution. Greater decarbonisation of the UK’s HGV fleet would serve as an ‘easy win’ for a Government embroiled in legal battles over its poor record on air quality. HGV’s constitute only 5% of vehicle miles travelled and makeup just 2% of vehicles on the road, yet emit 13% of total transport-derived NOX and 18% of transport greenhouse gas emissions; clearly cleaning up HGV’s should be a political priority.
It is time for the UK to switch from dirty diesel HGVs to natural gas. If vehicles were to use natural gas, NOx emissions could be reduced by 74%, Particulate Matter by 96%, and if they use Biomethane, carbon emissions would also be reduced by over 80%.’
You can read the consultation response in full here.