Sale of new diesel and petrol lorries could be banned by 2040 to crack down on air pollution

Sale of new diesel and petrol lorries could be banned by 2040 to crack down on air pollution

  • Government body warns boom in delivery services will see pollution soar
  • Experts recommend a ‘bold’ push over 20 years to improve air quality in UK
  • Aim is to ensure Britain’s entire road and rail industry is carbon free by 2050

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All new diesel and petrol lorries should be banned from sale by 2040 to cut air pollution, the Government’s infrastructure body has said.

HGVs need to switch from using fossil fuels to battery or hydrogen power over the next 20 years in a ‘bold’ push to make the UK’s road and rail-based industry carbon-free, the National Infrastructure Commission said.

Without action, freight could churn out a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, up from 9 per cent now.

The Road Haulage Association said any new technology must be cost-effective.

The Government’s infrastructure body has recommended that all new diesel and petrol lorries should be banned from sale by 2040 to cut pollution

The NIC said the boom in internet shopping, same day delivery services and just-in-time manufacturing will lead to a dramatic increase in the number of lorries on the road.

Without urgent action, it warned the problems of congestion and emissions ‘are likely to worsen’.

The government has already outlined plans to ban the sale of traditional new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040 to improve air quality.

But the NIC said that over the next two years ministers should set out how they plan to ban all sales of new petrol and diesel HGVs by 2040 and ‘begin preparing the nation’s infrastructure for this transition’.

It said this should be part of a broader effort to support the entire road and rail industry to become carbon free by 2050, and also to ease congestion on the roads.

Electric powered lorries are even more difficult to build than electric cars as they are so much heavier and require much more power.

But the report said that the development of both battery and hydrogen powered HGVs is already ‘well advanced’, with vehicles expected to become commercially available in the early 2020s.

The commission’s chairman Sir John Armitt said: ‘Today’s report says we need to set out bold plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel HGVs, bring emissions from freight on both road and rail to zero and give the industry greater visibility in Whitehall and town halls.’

Sale of new diesel and petrol lorries could be banned by 2040 to crack down on air pollution

National Infrastructure Commission chairman Sir John Armitt said ‘bold plans’ are needed to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel HGVs and slash pollution

Commissioner Bridget Rosewell said: ‘Clear, decisive action – including a ban on new diesel HGV sales and tackling emissions from rail freight – is needed now if we’re to have a zero carbon freight industry by 2050, which could help us to meet our stretching climate change targets.’ But the proposals were described as ‘wrongheaded and ill advised’ by the Road Haulage Association which said ‘lorries are getting cleaner all the time’.

A spokesman added: ‘Electric trucks need to carry huge batteries which is not cost-effective so they’re a long way from our motorways.New technology is welcome but it needs to be practical and affordable for Britain’s hard-pressed hauliers.’

Environmental campaigners have complained that the government’s 2040 target to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans is not nearly ambitious enough and should be moved forward.

But critics of the plans point to the lack of charging points, the relatively low range of electric vehicles and the huge amount of extra electricity Britain will need to generate if millions of motorists switch to electric vehicles and charge them at the same time.

Although sales of ultra-low emissions vehicles such as electric cars and plug in hybrids has soared, official figures show they still only account for 0.5 per cent of vehicles on the roads.

A government spokesman said: ‘We are taking action now to incentivise freight companies to move to cleaner HGV fleets, including through investment in research and development for greener vehicles and by introducing higher charges for the dirtiest lorries using our roads.’

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