Diesel HGV ban

Thu Sep 30 2021

You may be aware of the upcoming ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030. This is coming into force as part of the UK’s plan to record net zero emissions by the year 2050, only fully electric cars will be able to be sold as new after 2030. Some hybrid vehicles will be sold up until 2035, depending on how far they can travel on their zero-emission modes. 

Initially the ban was due to come into play in the year 2040, but it was brought forward to 2035, and then again to 2030. To help with the transition to fully electric cars there are huge amounts of money being invested in electric chargepoints, £1.3 billion to be precise. The Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, said of these changes, ‘My Ten Point Plan will create, support and protect hundreds of green jobs, while making strides towards net zero by 2050. Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future.’

But what do these changes mean for larger vehicles such as lorries and HGV’s?

Ban on diesel HGV’s

Larger vehicles such as lorries have not escaped the upcoming ban, as it has now been revealed that the sale of new diesel and petrol HGV’s is coming to an end in the year 2040. To be specific, new medium sized diesel and petrol HGV’s can no longer be sold from the year 2035, medium sized meaning up to 26 tonnes. HGV’s that are heavier than 26 tonnes will have a further 5 years before their ban comes into play. It is also possible that if the advance in technology allows it, these dates can and will be brought forward. 

How are HGV’s affecting greenhouse gases?

In February 2021 the NIC (National Infrastructure Commission) published a report stating that a ban on diesel HGV’s by the year 2040 was required to stop road and rail transport becoming a fifth of the UK’s residual greenhouse gases. 

There is approximately 1.6 billion tonnes of freight that is transported within the UK each year, with this figure estimated to rise due to the popularity of online shopping which increased during the lockdowns caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps stated the ban of these vehicles is vital to ensure the sector ‘shapes quality of life and the economy in ways that are good’ He also 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 a more efficient aircraft, using sustainable fuel. We will still drive, but increasingly in zero-emission cars. The Transport Decarbonisation Plan is just the start. We will need continued efforts and collaboration to deliver its ambitious commitments, which will ultimately create sustainable economic growth through healthier communities as we build back greener.’

How easy is the switch to electric vehicles?

A spokesman for the Road Haulage Association said that they support the goal of switching to zero-emission vehicles but they think the means of getting there are unrealistic. He said, ‘These alternative HGVs don’t yet exist. We don’t know when they will and it’s not clear what any transition will look like. So this is a blue skies aspiration ahead of real-life reality. For many haulage companies there are fears around cost of new vehicles and a collapse in resale value of existing lorries.’ 

How do HGVs contribute to climate change?

HGVs such as lorries, coaches and buses are responsible for around a quarter of Carbon Dioxide emissions from road transport across the EU, and they take up around 6% of the total of EU emissions. Read more about this here. 

There have been some improvements in the efficiency of fuel consumption, however these emissions are still rising, this is mostly due to the increase in road traffic. 

The switching to electric vehicles should reduce CO2 emissions, the target for 2025 onwards is a reduction of 15%, and a 30% reduction for 2030 and beyond.