New diesel and petrol lorries will be banned in Britain by 2040, under a “greenprint” to decarbonise all types of transport by 2050.
The British government’s long-awaited transport decarbonisation plan, finally published on 15 July, will include what is being billed as a “world-leading pledge” to end the sale of all new polluting vehicles and move towards net zero domestic aviation emissions by 2040.
It will also include commitments to electrify the entire fleet of government cars and vans by 2027, and plans to create a net zero-emissions rail network by 2050.
While the government said the plans were still subject to consultation, it said it proposed to phase out all polluting HGVs by 2040, and polluting lorries weighing under 26 tonnes by 2035. It would do so earlier if a faster transition seemed feasible.
Hauliers said the plans were unrealistic and could add huge costs to the struggling industry. Rod McKenzie, of the Road Haulage Association, said he supported the goal, but added: “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.”
However, Elizabeth de Jong, director of policy at Logistics UK, said the plan, with consultation, would “help to provide logistics businesses with confidence and clarity on the steps they must take on the pathway to net zero”.
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said it was a “credible pathway” for the transport sector to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and to support highly skilled jobs and cleaner air. “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,” he said.
Campaign groups endorsed the plan. Greg Archer, UK director of the NGO Transport & Environment, said it was a milestone in the move to a more sustainable system: “The decision to only use zero-emission road vehicles, including trucks, by 2050 is world leading and will significantly reduce Britain’s climate impact and improve the air we breathe. This complements the goal of net zero internal UK flights by 2040, although there is much more to do to tackle international aviation emissions.”