Driving law plans could see hydrogen replace diesel vehicles and be exempt from tax charges

Driving law plans could see hydrogen replace diesel vehicles and be exempt from tax charges

MPs have called on the Government to boost hydrogen support

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 18/12/2023

- 16:23

Updated: 06/03/2024

- 08:57

'We need sustained supporting policies from the UK Government'

Experts are calling on the Government to support the uptake of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and provide incentives for businesses to ditch polluting vehicles as transport moves towards net zero.

Industry leaders have unveiled a list of policy recommendations that they say will enable the scale-up of hydrogen trucking across the country.

The H2Accelerate collaboration, which includes partners like Shell, BP, Volvo and Daimler Trucks, is calling for a minimum level of alternative refuelling network coverage.

It argues that large-scale hydrogen refuelling stations will be needed every 200km on major networks by the end of the decade.

Boris Johnson in a hydrogen vehicle in 2020

The Government announced further rounds of investment for hydrogen projects in recent weeks


This would be followed by a more comprehensive network in 2035 consisting of 250 refuelling stations with a total capacity of 500 tonnes of hydrogen per day.

The whitepaper stated that the recent publication of the Zero Emission Road Freight Demonstrator (ZERFD) was proof that the Government was willing to support hydrogen, but more needed to be done.

The UK Government recently announced a major boost for hydrogen to unlock around £400million over the next three years and create more than 700 jobs.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho backed 11 major projects to produce green hydrogen including one in Teesside that will use hydrogen to replace diesel vehicles in their fleet.

Another of the strategies set out by the report suggests that all available zero emission HGVs should be assessed for the plug-in truck grant.

It adds that the grant should cover 80 per cent of the difference in price between diesel and hydrogen trucks for the first 1,000 trucks in a bid to slash the number of polluting large vehicles.

Hannah Bryson-Jones, spokesperson for the H2Accelerate collaboration, said the UK Government could unlock “large-scale investment” for zero emission vehicles and stimulate growth in the sector even further.

She added: “Ambitious targets have been set regarding the complete ban on diesel trucks, but these can only be achieved if the sector is supported in scale-up starting today.

“Aligned and progressively larger deployments of low carbon hydrogen production, refuelling, and trucks, will secure a smooth transition to zero emission heavy-duty vehicles."

The H2Accelerate collaboration said further movement from the Government would prove to the industry that the UK is a good place to invest when it comes to hydrogen.

They are also calling for zero emission trucks to be exempt from levies, tolls and taxes while the sector continues to scale up.

Currently, trucks are required to pay the HGV levy and Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), with calls for zero emission trucks to have the same benefits as electric vehicles.

Oliver Bishop, Global Head of Hydrogen Mobility at BP, said: "At BP, we are excited by the opportunity to invest in zero emissions refuelling for heavy-duty vehicles in the UK.

“We are exploring opportunities to kick-start a UK hydrogen mobility offer to our truck customers.


Minister for Roads Richard Holden with hydrogen vehicles

Minister for Roads Richard Holden with hydrogen vehicles


“However, to make further investments that will enable the large-scale deployment of heavy-duty hydrogen vehicles across the UK, we need sustained supporting policies from the UK Government."

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