Government sets out long-term plan for the future of UK freight

Wed 15 June 2022 View all news

The Government has published what it describes as the first-ever cross-modal and cross-government plan for the UK freight transport sector. Developed in partnership with industry, the report identifies the main challenges, objectives and actions that need to be taken in five priority areas, one of which is to enable the transition to net zero.

In the foreword to the plan, transport minister Trudy Harrison MP writes: "A new open and honest relationship will be forged with the sector to collectively assess its future energy and fuel needs through a Freight Energy Forum. We want to support the entire sector in its transition to net zero by 2050."

The Future of Freight plan comes at a pivotal time for the sector as it emerges from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to a new relationship with the EU whilst managing the impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war and longer-term implications for the global free trade system. As well as managing the issues of today it must also look to the future and to meeting the opportunities and challenges of the transition to net zero, ensuring it has the right skills and people, changing consumer trends, and new technology.

The Government says the plan represents a starting point for government-industry collaboration going forward and states a shared vision for the sector. The shared aim is to achieve a net zero freight and logistics sector by 2050, whilst supporting broader environmental objectives of air quality and noise reduction.

Key actions identified by the plan in the context of net zero include:
• Establishing a Freight Energy Forum to build confidence in the transition by;
• supporting and promoting modal shift and exploring geographic disparities in coverage of energy infrastructure;
• Undertaking a regulatory review of barriers to delivery of zero carbon energy infrastructure; and
• Maximising the potential of modal initiatives by demonstrating a zero emission cross-modal freight journey.

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