Decarbonisation must embrace an ‘Eliminate, Minimise, Offset’ approach.

19th April 2021

We’re calling for Government to show coordinated leadership by creating a well-considered, evidence-based national decarbonisation roadmap that fully takes account of the needs of users and the environment.

Published today (Thursday 15 April), the call is clearly defined in our latest ’Eliminate, Minimise, Offset’ paper that sets out its vision on how the commercial vehicle sector can achieve net zero emissions. The cornerstone of this approach is investment in developing vehicle standards to drive down CO2 emissions, supported by stable regulation.

We are concerned that the current political train of thought is increasingly attuned to knee-jerk and simplistic demonising of road users that some groups and politicians see as being unpopular or polluting. There is little regard to the essential needs of the economy and society for goods to be moved.

RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett said: “Both the political ambition and technological potential to reduce UK CO2 emissions is clear. However, sustainable and predictable implementation is less so, and our updated policy paper sets out clear recommendations to steer the next steps.

It’s unfortunate that as the UK recovers from the devastating impact of COVID-19 the political debate is currently unbalanced and threatens to alienate any good-will that exists “to do the right thing”.

Politicians know that successful environmental outcomes depend on a healthy, mobile economy that generates the tax revenue needed to invest in lowering emissions. But they must also understand that a healthy economy depends on the cost-effective and efficient transportation of people and goods.

A more inclusive approach to decarbonisation, one that takes account of the need for business to have confidence to invest in new equipment, is essential as the drive to net zero continues.”


Notes to Editors

Our updated policy paper “Eliminate – Minimise – Offset” can be found here:

Transport has been, and will always remain, an essential service in any society for both basic and advanced economic and social performance. This applies whether we are dealing with a pandemic like Covid-19 or the drive to net zero by 2050.

We believe a new national decarbonisation “roadmap” is essential to support the decisions of businesses, authorities and people to get decarbonisation outcomes, while ensuring the economy and jobs are supported.

We agree with the recent assessments by both the Public Accounts Committee and National Audit Office that “at present, there is no coordinated plan with clear milestones towards achieving [net zero]” which ministers must address – see:

To steer next steps, we are publishing the following recommendations:

• Policymakers to provide regulatory certainty to avoid future “stranded assets”

• Well-designed standards generated to govern the development of new technology and infrastructure that is phased in sustainably as market supply allows

• Highway authorities to ensure the road space works for all users with the ability to move goods and people efficiently and cost-effectively unimpeded

• Policymakers to avoid regressive impacts  or counter-productive outcomes.