UK government to trial e-lorries in plans for carbon free transport

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Motorways with overhead wires to charge electrically powered lorries are one of the ideas to help Britain meet its zero carbon targets, the government will announce today in a plan to de-carbonise UK transport.

Ministers this morning said all sales of diesel-fuelled lorries will be banned by 2040 as part of its initiative to make the country’s transport infrastructure carbon neutral by 2050.

Smaller diesel trucks will stop being sold from 2035, and larger ones weighing more than 26 tonnes from 2040, or earlier if feasible, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the BBC.

The government has already said that sales of new cars and vans powered solely by petrol or diesel will be banned in the UK from 2030.

He added the rail network will be carbon neutral by 2050 with net zero domestic aviation emissions by 2040.

“Decarbonisation is not just some technocratic process. It’s about how we make sure that transport shapes quality of life and the economy in ways that are good,” he said.

“It’s not about stopping people doing things: it’s about doing the same things differently.”

On aviation, the government said it would consult with the industry to assess how the target can be achieved to ensure “everyone can continue to fly for holidays, visits to family and business without contributing to climate change.”

Responses to the plans, which will be unveiled later today ranged from sceptical to dismay.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) said scrapping lorries in the timeframe suggested was unrealistic.

“These alternative HGVs don’t yet exist – we don’t know when they will and what they will cost,” RHA chief executive Richard Burnett told the BBC.

“For many haulage companies, there are fears around the cost of new vehicles and a collapse in the resale value of existing lorries. The problem is even worse for coaches, which are more expensive to buy and have longer lifecycles.”

The plans for flying were also dismissed as ‘fantasy’ by the Green party, which said the technology also does not yet exist and that the emphasis should have been on reducing the amount people fly.

How the government intends to replace the GBP30bn a year it receives from fuel taxes is also another issue that has yet to be addressed said critics of the plans.


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