Zemo welcomes £200m Government funding to accelerate UK freight decarbonisation

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Thu 12 May 2022 View all news

The Government has announced over £200m funding for an extensive zero emission road freight (ZERF) demonstrator programme which it says will mean that the "world’s largest fleet of zero emission HGVs"  will take to UK roads. Zemo Partnership and members have been working closely alongside Government officials to develop the programme which will build on the £20m ZERF trials announced in July last year.  

The three-year programme will begin later this year with initial competitions for battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell technology launching soon.

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison MP, speaking at Logistics UK’s Future Logistics Conference at the ITT Hub event in Farnborough said: "The demonstrations will help the UK’s freight sector reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by finding which zero emission technologies are best suited to the heaviest road vehicles in the UK."

"An open-call competition will be launched for manufacturers, energy providers and fleet and infrastructure operators to showcase their green technology on UK roads. This will begin with demonstrations of battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell HGVs."

As part of the ZERF trials introduced last year, Leyland Trucks introduced 20 DAF battery electric HGVs for use by public sector organisations, including the NHS and local authorities, to support the uptake of battery electric trucks. The trials enabled evidence and experience to be gathered from field testing vehicles in a real-world, real-time logistics environment.

This project, along with six successful feasibility studies, helped prepare for the demonstrations, which will take place at scale over the coming years. The demonstrations will help gather evidence on the future refuelling and recharging infrastructure needed to drive the smooth transition to a zero-emission freight sector by 2050.

Andy Eastlake, Zemo Partnership's Chief Executive said: "We welcome this important step on the way to a zero emission HGV fleet in the UK. With many of our members already fully committed and involved in the feasibility work, we know that this funding can really move the dial.

"Zemo has been supporting the Department for Transport and its delivery partners throughout the journey to low - and now zero - emission HGVs and will continue to play a major role in supporting the demonstration programme as well as helping to disseminate the learnings as they emerge.  

"It's important to note that the demonstration programme competition will be open to collaborations between vehicle suppliers, operators as well as infrastructure and energy supply companies; decarbonising transport is going to require an ever more collaborative approach involving actors across a wider range of sectors than ever before.

"The vital road freight sector is one of the most challenging to move to zero emissions, but with the innovation we see today, matched by the commitment and funding from Government, plus the undoubted ambition of our members, we're confident of seeing real progress towards the decarbonisation of our freight sector matched, we hope, by the decarbonisation of the goods they deliver."

To coincide with the funding announcement, DfT has also published its full response to the public consultation on phase-out dates for the sale of new, non-zero emission HGVs.

It has also announced a call for evidence on potential exemptions to the proposed 2035 phase-out date (for HGVs, weighing 26 tonnes and under) of vehicles which may need longer to transition to zero emission technologies. The call for evidence opened today and will run until 22 July 2022.

Note: Zemo Partnership is currently exhibiting ITT Hub (Innovation and Technology in Transport) in Farnborough. Visit us on stand 15283/3 where we're a part of the 'Government Hub'. 

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