Government low carbon fuel strategy required to bridge technology gap

Logistics UK is calling on the Government to develop a long-term plan for using low carbon fuels (LCFs).

The trade body highlighted the need for a low carbon fuel strategy, if decarbonisation targets are to be met, after a parliamentary roundtable on LCFs, chaired by Transport Committee member Greg Smith MP, yesterday (March 7).

Kate Jennings, director of policy at Logistics UK, explained that during the roundtable, members from all modes of transport highlighted the need for a low carbon fuels strategy to enable the sector to meet the phase out dates for traditional vehicle fuels and technologies.

To date, Jennings claimed that LCFs have received “significantly less attention” in policy and political debate than electric vehicles (EVs).

However, she said: “Current battery technology is not widely available in every type of logistics vehicle, and LCFs can provide a viable option for reducing carbon emissions by up to 80% with immediate effect, without significant vehicle modifications needed.

“With several LCF options available, it is now vital that the Government works with the sector to agree the way forward, so businesses can invest in decarbonisation in confidence.”

At the meeting, members urged Government to publish a long-term plan for utilising LCFs across transport modes, which should be evidence-based and look beyond tailpipe emissions to the carbon emissions impact of the whole fuel lifecycle.

“It is also vital that it is backed by investment in infrastructure, research and development and a clear regulatory framework,” added Jennings.

Speaking at the event, Greg Smith MP said: “Decarbonisation goals will only be met across the logistics sector if there is a more open-minded approach to both transitionary fuels and long-term fuels for the future.

“Battery electric is not a suitable alternative for many heavy applications and the sector needs certainty from Government that the innovative approaches they are taking will meet with regulatory approval, and the infrastructure to support them.

“The session in Parliament was extremely useful to hear all voices around the table and listen to everyone’s priority, from road, rail, air, sea and inland waterways.”

Logistics UK has also highlighted the need for a LCF strategy within its Budget submission, as well as calling for the current fuel duty rate to be maintained.

The business group has warned Government how a disproportionate rise in fuel duty could impact inflation and the UK economy, as well as hampering the industry’s progress towards decarbonisation.

Jennings continued: “Businesses are already facing a reduction in energy support and a 12.6% rise in vehicle operating costs; a rise in fuel duty would only increase the financial burden on businesses and occupy funds that could have otherwise been directed at greener technology investments and therefore could result in failure to meet decarbonisation targets.

“As a result, we are urging Government to retain the 5ppl fuel duty cut introduced in March 2022, while maintaining revenue levels through VAT and other sources.”

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