RHA supports decarbonising trucks – but not like this…

RHA supports decarbonising trucks – but not like this…

13 Jul 2021 Posted By Josh Reynolds

The RHA is criticising Government over its plans for decarbonising the UK’s truck fleet.

The association supports the eventual aim but says the plan is speculative, potentially damaging to business, and short on detail.

RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett said in response to the Government’s Transport Decarbonisation plan: “This proposal as it stands is unrealistic. These alternative HGVs don’t yet exist – we don’t know when they will and what they will cost.

“It’s also not clear what any transition will look like – this is blue skies aspiration. For many haulage companies there are fears around cost of new vehicles and a collapse in resale value of existing lorries. The problem is even worse for coaches, which are more expensive to buy and have longer lifecycles.“

We support investment in vehicles to deliver Net Zero, but it requires coherent, affordable and inclusive market-driven policies. Decarbonisation policies must support a thriving commercial vehicle sector to ensure the UK has a vibrant economy supporting people and businesses.

The needs of SME businesses must be at the heart of Government ambitions, he added.

“SMEs ensure the goods and services consumers demand are delivered affordably and on time. These are ordinary people without deep pockets who want to do the right thing.”

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Notes to Editors

  1. We support the policy ambition to decarbonise the UK economy and within it the commercial vehicle fleet. We also recognise the deeply complex nature of the challenge which we are addressing based on two starting points:
    1. our approach is guided by sustainability values which recognise that economic needs must be nurtured alongside environmental and social needs. As economic enablers, commercial vehicle operators drive economic well-being and are willing to invest in environmental well-being.
    1. for a successful transition away from diesel the right policy frameworks must be in place. Key to this is recognising and respecting asset lifecycles so that waste and the “stranded asset” risk for second-hand vehicles is avoided.

Our policy paper (published April 2021) on decarbonising the commercial vehicle sector can be found here.

We are committed to working through the decarbonation issues with Government and our partners, which will include overcoming formidable barriers such as infrastructure provision and re-skilling the workforce in the new technologies if ministerial Net Zero ambitions are to be achieved.

We are very concerned that a repeat of the well-intended but ill-conceived Clean Air Zone (CAZ) policy is avoided as the Government formulates its decarbonisation plans. CAZ undermined sustainability principles by ignoring crucial economic considerations – specifically:

      1. by linking CAZ compliance to the Euro VI diesel standard, the Government undermined the second-hand asset values of non-Euro VI diesel vehicles;
      1. by failing to phase in CAZ compliance as the market supply of the required Euro VI HGVs allowed, a supply shortage was created creating price inflation. Together with the asset devaluation, this twin-hit disrupted business investment decisions and consequential vehicle replacement cycles.

    We regret that the “stranded asset” phenomenon caused by CAZ policy prematurely wiped £1.2bn off the second-hand value of the Euro V fleet of HGVs (94,000 HGVs; 18% of the overall UK HGV fleet).

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