Government's next steps on freight: welcome ambition, detailed plans now needed

The Commission responds to further work by government on decarbonising the freight sector.

Published: 16 Jun 2022

By: Ben Wilson

Tagged: , ,

Articulated lorry overtaking another lorry on a motorway

This week the government published its long-term plan for the freight sector, Future of Freight. Government committed to publishing this in its response to the Commission’s 2019 study, Better Delivery: The challenge for freight. The Commission’s main conclusion in that study was that through the adoption of new technologies and the recognition of freight’s needs in the planning system, it is possible to decarbonise road and rail freight by 2050 and manage its contribution to congestion.

The Commission’s Infrastructure Progress Review 2022 stressed that government must address the need for a comprehensive assessment of the infrastructure needed to enable HGV decarbonisation.

Responding to government’s new plan, Bridget Rosewell, National Infrastructure Commissioner, said:

“Government has accepted the major challenge set in the Commission’s 2019 study on freight, namely to decarbonise the sector by 2050, and we are pleased to see the Commission’s thinking addressed squarely in this new strategy. The plan indicates some progress in identifying the infrastructure needed to meet the challenge, and £7 million for cross-modal freight innovation is clearly a welcome step. But the plan is light on detail about securing the further investment that might be needed, particularly for rail freight, to reach zero emissions by 2050.

“It is right for government to undertake a regulatory review to feed into Ofgem’s next distribution price review, as recommended by the Commission, and it will be important for this to address how grid capacity for van charging at depots can be unlocked at pace. Alongside this, the pledge of a review of planning guidance should be acted upon without delay to help the freight sector undergo the net zero transformation to which we know it is committed.”

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