UK motoring industry in 'real danger of losing competitive edge' to European Union

Busy motorway

Experts are urging the Government to take action and improve conditions

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 27/10/2023

- 10:14

Updated: 27/10/2023

- 16:11

Experts are urging the Government to follow the lead of the EU

A new report is warning that the UK could fall behind the European Union in major transport and motoring decarbonisation efforts.

Green policy think tank Transport & Environment has warned that the UK is “being left in the dust” when making haulage and trucking more environmentally friendly.

It argues that the UK is not doing enough to support the industry's move towards decarbonisation, especially when compared to other nations.

The UK Government recently announced £200million of funding for projects to make trucks and HGVs greener, as well as launching a consultation on the best ways the industry can cut emissions.

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However, Transport & Environment said this move “pales in significance” compared to the work being done across Europe.

It adds that the UK has plenty of ambition but is “lacking in action” as the push to net zero continues.

The EU’s Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) law will ensure that recharging stations for HGVs are deployed every 60km along their core network and every 100km on other networks.

These chargers will have a minimum output of 350kW, allowing HGV drivers to have confidence in their vehicles and always have an idea of where the nearest charger is.

It is hoped this will be put into action after 2025, with the complete network covered by the end of the decade.

Richard Hebditch, UK Director of Transport & Environment, warned that the UK could fall further behind the European Union.

He said: “The UK is in real danger of losing any competitive edge it has on truck decarbonisation.

“It’s vital that the UK stays in the race as there is a flourishing industry behind e-HGV production, charging and battery supply that the UK could tap into.

“The Government seems to be tiptoeing around major issues when it comes to transport decarbonisation and HGVs are a major opportunity, it would be silly and short-sighted to continue to pay them such little attention.”

Since 1990, the UK has reduced emissions from heavy goods vehicles by just 0.3 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, which experts have said is not good enough.

The environmental think tank is now calling on the Government to encourage the switch to electric HGVs and put infrastructure in place to ensure drivers have confidence in electric vehicles.

It also wants the Government to create a Zero Emission Vehicle mandate for HGV manufacturers to put measures in place for the production of new vehicles.

By 2035, all new HGVs over 26 tonnes will need to be zero emission, with T&E saying a ZEV mandate would help manufacturers reach these targets.

The European Union has also vowed to install hundreds of hydrogen refuelling stations along major road routes across the continent.


HGV driving

By 2035, all new HGVs over 26 tonnes will need to be zero emission


It is hoped that all major cities will install new refuelling stations if they have a population above 100,000 in a bid to promote cleaner trucking.

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