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UK Government Allocates £200 Million to Promote Zero Emission Trucks and Innovations

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In a significant move to decarbonize the freight industry, the UK government has allocated £200 million in funding to support innovative green projects aimed at introducing up to 370 zero-emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to the country’s road networks. This initiative is part of a broader effort to combat climate change and transition the road freight sector towards net-zero emissions. The funding, which is delivered in partnership with Innovate UK, will also facilitate the development of approximately 57 refueling and electric charging sites, essential infrastructure to help the haulage sector achieve decarbonization goals.

With heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) contributing significantly to transport emissions, accounting for 20% of all such emissions across the UK, the funding will have a substantial impact on reducing the carbon footprint of the freight industry. It will also serve to drive innovation and create new jobs in this sector, making it more sustainable and efficient.

One of the recipients of the £200 million, Voltempo, is working on the eFREIGHT 2030 project, set to generate up to 200 new jobs by 2030 and provide Birmingham with one of the UK’s first electric vehicle charging hubs dedicated to HGVs. This project, along with others supported by the funding, will play a crucial role in lowering the carbon emissions associated with the UK’s freight sector.

Moreover, popular grocery companies such as Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer are expected to benefit from this initiative by reducing their transport emissions and protecting themselves from fluctuations in fuel prices. By lowering delivery costs, this funding could potentially prevent price hikes across supermarkets, providing cost savings to consumers and addressing the rising cost of living.

The UK government is committed to making long-term decisions that will lead to a more sustainable future. Decarbonizing the freight sector is a pivotal aspect of achieving the nation’s net-zero commitments in a manner that lowers costs, generates jobs, and strengthens the economy.

Richard Holden, Roads Minister, highlighted the importance of the freight and logistics industry in the UK economy and stressed the government’s dedication to driving innovation, creating jobs, and fostering economic growth in this crucial sector.

Jesse Norman, Decarbonisation Minister, affirmed the UK’s commitment to leading the global transition to net zero. The £200 million investment will facilitate the rollout of 370 zero-emission trucks, in addition to £2.4 million allocated to pioneer green technology through the Freight Innovation Fund, further working with the sector to create jobs and contribute to the net-zero target by 2050.

This funding is part of a comprehensive week of government action to support the freight industry, focusing on innovation and job creation. It includes visits by ministers to various freight stakeholders to understand how the sector can continue to drive innovation and economic growth, playing a pivotal role in reaching the net-zero goal.

The announcement is part of a broader effort to scale up and implement innovative technology in the freight industry, accelerating its transition to decarbonization. A £7 million, 3-year Freight Innovation Fund (FIF) has been launched to support green technology in the sector, aimed at making freight more environmentally friendly, efficient, and resilient.

As part of this initiative, the FIF Accelerator program will help up to 10 small and medium enterprises develop new ways to make freight greener and more efficient. This program seeks to work closely with the sector to facilitate the transition to a net-zero economy.

To further boost innovation in freight and logistics, an additional £2.4 million has been unlocked through the second round of the Freight Innovation Fund (FIF). The FIF Accelerator will play a pivotal role in helping small and medium enterprises develop innovative technologies to make the freight sector more environmentally friendly, efficient, and resilient.

In addition to the funding allocation, the UK government has announced two calls for evidence to explore further ways of decarbonizing the freight industry and improving its efficiency. The first call for evidence seeks input to inform and support the development of a zero-emission HGV and coach infrastructure strategy. This strategy, due to be published in 2024, aims to provide the necessary infrastructure to meet the phase-out dates for non-zero emission HGVs in 2035 and 2040.

The second call for evidence focuses on volumetric concrete mixers (VCMs) and examines whether temporary weight allowances should remain, be removed, or be amended for these vehicles beyond the current deadline of 2028. This call aims to find the best solutions to reduce waste, control costs, and ensure fair competition while maintaining road safety.

The government is also considering ways to boost freight across a variety of modes by reviewing the Mode Shift Revenue Support and Waterborne Freight Grant, aiming to encourage the sector to decarbonize by shifting freight from road to rail or water.

As part of the government’s broader efforts to support the freight industry, the fuel duty cut has been extended to March 2024. Additionally, various actions have been taken to help the haulage sector, including joint funding to improve roadside facilities for lorry drivers and initiatives to increase the capacity for HGV driver tests. These measures are expected to significantly benefit the sector and the economy at large.

Source: Gov[Dot]UK

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