Government should work with Lorry drivers

Published: 29 May 2018

This has followed the release of the European Union’s third mobility package, suggesting that trucks should cut C02 emissions by at least 30% by 2030, in addition to this there should be a 15% cut on 2019’s levels during 2025.
Christopher Snelling, head of policy at the FTA spoke regarding the matter: “The proposed requirements for new vehicles would massively assist the logistics industry in its efforts to improve safety and reduce emissions, providing the EU’s requirements do not prevent lorries doing the full range of jobs that society needs of them.”
It should be considered that, via UK legislation, the government’s attempt to lower emissions has been less than welcomed by members of the haulage industry, who consider the system more punishing than it is rewarding.
RHA chief exec Richard Burnett stated the government should focus more on working with the major players in the haulage industry and “not penalise” those who fail to address the air quality. During a recent court ruling brought forth by ClientEarth on the matter of scrappage schemes, he also stated that the government’s hand had been forced on larger environmental issues.
“There should be no bans or restrictions on lorries less than 12 years old, and local authorities need a single framework, different towns and cities could have different policies – and fines – for different lorries delivering into them. That could hit businesses hard and leave the logistics trade confused with multiple standards and rules.”   Mr Burnett stated.
The FTA agreed on his statement that putting regulation powers into the hands of local authorities would only further damage the industry’s lack of interest in reducing emissions, elaborating that the European proposals could benefit the UK on a nationwide scale.
The FTA has called upon Whitehall suggesting they reconsider their plans to tax diesel freight trains. 
There is growing concern that the government’s plans for a consultation on red diesel usage with non-road vehicles could lead to a tax hike in rail freight.
“Every freight train takes about 60 HGVs off the country’s roads, giving carbon, air pollution, road safety and congestion benefits,” stated Mr Snelling. “It also helps the economy by providing a productive, cost-effective and high-performing option for logistics operators needing to support key industries.
“Disincentivising diesel in trains makes no sense as, until the government electrifies the network, there is no alternative open to operators or users.”
The FTA say a gallon of diesel can move one tonne of freight 246t miles by rail rather than 88 miles on the road.
Mr Snelling felt that while it is unlikely the government would impose such a tax on the rail industry, he said the discussions alone could have a negative impact for business.
While Mr Snelling doubted government would impose a tax on diesel in rail – describing it as “contrary” to decarbonisation goals – he believes the discussion alone could impact business.
“Even the consideration of it this year will make it harder to persuade potential customers to explore rail as an option for their freight transportation requirements,” he continued.
“FTA believes government should reassure business and rail freight immediately that this review will end with train services not being made to pay the same high fuel taxes as road vehicles currently face – the highest fuel taxes in Europe,” he said.
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