According to a Guardian report, several HGV manufacturers and operators are lobbying MPs behind the scenes to postpone the ban on sales of new diesel trucks.
The automotive lobby group, the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), says publicly that the proposed ban is a “bold commitment” that would require financial support from the government. However, it has told MPs privately that a ban should be delayed, according to responses to the official consultation.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) said the ban should be delayed until 2045 for lorries over 32 tonnes in weight. It supported earlier bans for smaller lorries.
Rod McKenzie, managing director of policy at RHA, said more time was needed for the largest lorries only because the technology to power them was not yet available. He said that would mean small delivery companies were faced with financial risks when buying new vehicles.
“It’s not that we’re against cleaner air or phasing out diesel lorries,” he said. “The question has always been the timescale.”
RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett, responding to the Government’s Decarbonisation Plan, said: “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.”
While cars sales are already moving rapidly to electric power, HGVs are much harder to electrify because of the heavy loads they carry over long distances, making batteries less effective.
Lorries were responsible for 19m tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2019, 16% of UK emissions from transport, according to government figures. Transport is the largest contributor to domestic UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting for 27% of emissions in 2019. Within transport, HGVs are second to cars and vans in terms of total GHG emissions.
The consultation period began on 14th July 2021 and ended 3rd September 2021. Responses are being analysed.