Environment

Environment

Embracing opportunities and protecting business on the road to net zero.

The RHA’s environment campaign aims to champion the industry’s move towards net zero vehicles and technology by supporting the sector with the knowledge they need to make investment decisions that are consistent with the net zero objectives defined by Parliament.

When HGVs account for 4.3% of overall UK greenhouse emissions, we know our sector must play its part to decarbonise. However, our success on improving air quality where nitrogen oxide emissions have fallen by over 70% since 2013, shows how decarbonisation can be achieved with investment in vehicle standards and new technologies. 

We support the aim to decarbonise heavy goods vehicles and coaches and welcomed the announcement at COP26 on the future of diesel HGVs, as it starts providing the certainty the sector needs to plan vehicle replacement cycles. We also welcome the Government’s investment in the Zero Emission Road Freight Trial. Issues we are working to resolve include: reducing the cost of zero emission vehicles; implementing the required infrastructure; and ensuring the vehicles perform as required.

Many of our members are already undertaking initiatives to decarbonise their operations and improve their impact on the environment. 

These include how businesses are reducing emissions from their vehicles as well as making their business operations more energy efficient, in many cases to attract new customers and drive further business opportunities. 

Clean Air Zones

The RHA supports clean air measures that are effective, proportionate, and fair. We also support the aim of improving air quality but believe that the current Clean Air Zone framework, whilst well-intended, needs fundamental reform. This is because it does not target pollution sources effectively nor account for the supply of the required Euro VI vehicles.

We have extensively lobbied Ministers on the design of CAZ policy, which overlooks the needs of SME businesses and the challenges they face in replacing their vehicles.

Following public opposition to the Manchester CAZ, we are working with stakeholders to put in place a viable and inclusive solution. We believe the fairest way to meet legal air quality limits as quickly as possible is to target the oldest, most-polluting vehicles across all types (cars, vans, HGVs and buses), with policy measures focussed on retiring the disproportionately small number of vehicles generating the largest amounts of pollution. We also believe a “CAZ lessons-learned” exercise should be conducted to help steer the Net Zero agenda and future implementation of Zero Emission Zones.

Our key asks on environment are: 

  • Government clarity on low carbon fuels
  • Represent the voice of the SME in Zero Emission Road Freight Trials & wider decarbonisation debate
  • Ensure policy makers understand the market for zero emission vehicles.