UK Government: sale of petrol & diesel trucks to be phased out by 2040

UK Government: sale of petrol & diesel trucks to be phased out by 2040

The UK Government has announced that the sale of diesel and petrol trucks is to be phased out by 2040. The ban is part of a so-called ‘greenprint’ to decarbonise all modes of domestic transport by 2050.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps claims the plan will provide “cleaner air, healthier communities and tens of thousands of new green jobs”.

The section of the announcement that will concern road transport companies the most reads as follows:

As part of this vision, the government is today announcing its intention to phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by 2040, subject to consultation – combined with the 2035 phase out date for polluting cars and vans, this represents a world-leading pledge to phase out all polluting road vehicles within the next 2 decades. The consultation proposes a 2035 phase out date for vehicles weighing from 3.5 to 26 tonnes and 2040 for vehicles weighing more than 26 tonnes – or earlier if a faster transition seems feasible.

Interestingly, the RHA and Logistics UK have reacted differently to the government’s plan.

Elizabeth de Jong, Director of Policy at Logistics UK, expressed optimism about the plan and was even happy to be quoted on the government’s website. She had the following to say:

The Transport decarbonisation plan will help to provide logistics businesses with confidence and clarity on the steps they must take on the pathway to net zero. Consultation on proposed phase out dates for new diesel HGVs should enable business to move forwards with confidence. Rail, shipping and aviation are all essential parts of logistics, so plans to support freight modal shift and develop technologies to reduce emissions across these modes are welcome. With logistics already embracing the need to decarbonise its operations, Logistics UK looks forward to working in partnership with the government on future action and strategies to realise the net zero ambition together.

The RHA did not react in the same manner, however. The RHA’s Chief Executive, Richard Burnett, said in response to the Government’s Transport Decarbonisation plan:

“This proposal as it stands is unrealistic. These alternative HGVs don’t yet exist – we don’t know when they will and what they will cost. It’s also not clear what any transition will look like – this is blue skies aspiration. For many haulage companies there are fears around cost of new vehicles and a collapse in resale value of existing lorries. The problem is even worse for coaches, which are more expensive to buy and have longer lifecycles.”

In a statement, the RHA added that it supports investment in vehicles to deliver Net Zero, but says the changes require “coherent, affordable and inclusive market-driven policies.” These decarbonisation policies, it says,  “must support a thriving commercial vehicle sector to ensure the UK has a vibrant economy supporting people and businesses.”


Photo © Copyright Gerald England and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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