RHA responds to DfT “sale of new diesel lorry” ban consultation

RHA responds to DfT “sale of new diesel lorry” ban consultation

03 Sep 2021 Posted By Josh Reynolds

We have submitted our response to the Department for Transport’s proposal to ban the sale of new diesel lorries into two weight categories from 2035 and 2040 - specifically, below 26t GVW from 2035 with all other new diesel lorries from 2040.

We support the aim to decarbonise heavy goods vehicles. However, based on current Government plans, we have reservations on its attainability and believe the proposal and approach should be adjusted.

Our reservations centre around two issues. First, there is a failure by DfT to recognise the diverse uses lorries are put to. The Government has presumed that vehicles at 26 tonnes and below are overwhelmingly used on short distance routes, despite DfT’s own data showing 25% of that fleet covering daily distances in excess of 260kms.

Secondly, DfT’s proposals focus almost solely on electric and fuel cell vehicles, with other net zero options overlooked. We feel this is misguided, given continuing uncertainties over the capabilities and costs of battery and fuel cell lorries. We believe that many operations can work with electric lorries, but some operations may not. These uncertainties need to be fully scoped and understood by the Government so that all operations can be accommodated as we transition to Net Zero.

Nor has the Department made any commitment on how long diesel vehicles will be allowed after the ban is put in place. This is another concern for those investing in new lorries over the next 15 years, as buyers currently do not know how long diesel vehicles will be allowed to be used.

In our response, we have recommended that investment in new vehicle standards supported by real-world trials should form the basis of the Government’s approach. We also call for an assurance that all diesel lorries are given a guaranteed minimum use period by government of at least 15 years, that offsetting and use of net zero liquid fuels will be permitted, and different weight categorisations and timings are used to better reflect the likely and realistic capabilities of road freight as we decarbonise.

Our response to the consultation can be viewed here.