Net Zero

Net Zero

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

We support Net Zero and are committed to making it work.

Recognising that decarbonising HGVs and coaches is complex, our approach is pragmatic and our aim is to support the commercial vehicle sector with the knowledge they need to make investment decisions that are consistent with the net zero objectives defined by the Westminster and devolved parliaments.

When HGVs account for around 6% of overall UK greenhouse emissions, we know our sector must play its part to decarbonise. Our success in 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 welcome the announcement of phase-out dates for new diesel HGV dates, which are:

  • for HGVs under 26 tonnes gvw, from 2035
  • for all HGVs, from 2040

This provides the certainty the sector needs to plan vehicle replacement cycles. At the time of writing, we await similar phase-out dates from the Government for new diesel coach sales.

We also welcome the Government’s investment in the Zero Emission and Hydrogen Infrastructure Demonstrator (ZEHID) programme – this £200m investment will trial how battery and hydrogen fuel-cell HGVs will perform, with data arising from ZEHID helping operators plan their investments.

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 existing vehicles as well as making their business operations more energy efficient, in many cases to attract new customers and drive further business opportunities.

For more information, please see the following websites (note: the RHA is not responsible for the content of external third-party websites):

RHA Net Zero Forum

In August 2023, the RHA has launched the Net Zero Forum aimed at supporting our industry to our net zero future.  It brings together a cross-representation of the RHA membership by transport mode, size, sector and the four UK nations to drive the RHA’s long-term contribution to achieving Net Zero. A key output will be a roadmap which will be informed by member needs and experiences and updated as our Net Zero understanding evolves. This will validate and inform activity both within our sector and elsewhere.

To help shape the roadmap, the RHA has identified five structural barriers that, working with our many partners, need to be overcome:

  • Cost
  • Energy Infrastructure
  • Vehicle Performance
  • Skills
  • Mindset change

To overcome these barriers, we ask for collaboration, investment and (from policymakers) certainty to provide clarity-of-purpose and intent.

More information can be found here -

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 vehicle-supply challenges they face in replacing their vehicles.

Following public opposition to the Manchester CAZ and London ULEZ expansion, 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 pre-Euro V vehicles generating the largest amounts of pollution. Where air quality meets legal compliance levels, we are clear that CAZs should be abolished.  We also believe a “CAZ/ULEZ 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
  • The voice of small businesses is heard in the Zero Emission & Hydrogen Infrastructure Demonstrator (ZEHID) programme & wider decarbonisation debate
  • Policy makers understand the market for zero emission vehicles and complex needs of hauliers and coach operators