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UK to ban sale of petrol and diesel HGV lorries from 2040

HGV lorries on the M4 motorway. Photo: PA

HGV lorries on the M4 motorway. Photo: PA

The UK government wants to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by 2040 as part of its ambitions to reach net zero carbon by 2050.

The move comes in anticipation of November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) and is part of a new “greenprint” published by the government which aims to decarbonise all modes of domestic transport. The HGV ban is subject to a consultation and “represents a world-leading pledge to phase out all polluting road vehicles within the next two decades”, the government said. It had earlier said it wants to stop the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030, which it now appears to have postponed to 2035.

The UK hopes to create a net zero rail network by 2050, ensure net zero domestic aviation emissions by 2040 and also transition to green shipping. UK transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “It’s not about stopping people doing things: it’s about doing the same things differently. We will still fly on holiday, but in more efficient aircraft, using sustainable fuel.

We will still drive, but increasingly in zero emission cars. Watch: Banning petrol & diesel HGVs is ‘unrealistic’ : Bailey doubles down on Bank of England’s climate promises

The government also hopes to electrify its entire fleet of cars and vans by 2027, three years earlier than previously planned. It believes the production of zero emission road vehicles has the potential to support tens of thousands of jobs worth up to GBP9.7bn (£13.4bn) gross value added in 2050. The CEO of Volta Trucks, a full-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer, welcomed the plan “because it gives British fleet operators and buyers a level of certainty that didn’t previously exist.”

However, he said the ban on internal combustion engine trucks by 2040 is nearly 20 years away, “and today’s climate emergency cannot wait”. “It’s disappointing that the UK government hasn’t been as ambitious as the French authorities, for example, who have banned diesel engine trucks from the streets of Paris and other large city centres by the end of 2023. This type of progressive legislation, twinned with incentives, is what’s needed.”

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Meanwhile Sandy Parsonage, director of supply chain and logistics for Sainsbury (SBRY.L), a principal sponsor of COP26, said the company is working across its supply chain to explore alternative fuels and develop a zero carbon fleet of the future. It is also investing to reduce the emissions across its current fleet.

Earlier this month it was reported that the average cost of running a car could rise by as much as GBP100 a year due to new proposals drawn up by ministers to reduce carbon emissions.

Watch: The GBP2bn Green Home Grants scheme explained