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Reducing HDV carbon emissions, FTA says

The wide variety of weights and loads for freight should be taken into account is the message from the FTA in response to the EC report ‘Reducing Heavy-Duty Vehicles’ fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.’

The long awaited strategy to curb carbon emissions from trucks, bases and coaches was published this week by the European Commission; stating that heavy duty vehicles (HDVs), are responsible for around a quarter of carbon emissions from road transport in the EU.

The Commission has an ambition to enable vehicle purchasers to compare the carbon efficiency of new trucks coming onto the market. A computer simulation tool, VECTO will measure carbon emissions and the Commission intends to bring forward proposals for legislation in 2015 to require carbon emissions from new HDVs to be certified, reported and monitored. Eventually, mandatory limits on average emissions from newly-registered HDVs could be introduced, as is already done for cars and vans.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has said that it’s concerned that a certification scheme will be overly simplistic due to the considerable variety of models and sizes of trucks available. The wide variety of weights and loads that will be carried will also affect the per tonne carbon efficiency of new HDVs.

Rachael Dillon, Climate Change Policy Manager, FTA said:
"It is good to finally see this long awaited strategy from the Commission on how our industry can decarbonise. But any approach to certifying carbon emissions of vehicles that does not take into account how much that vehicle can carry misses the point. Larger vehicles may well be more carbon efficient per tonne carried, and that is what matters.

FTA and its members provided early feedback into the strategy and the role that voluntary initiatives such as the Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme can play in reducing emissions. Dillon added "It is vital that the Commission considers a whole package of measures not just a certification scheme to help operators contribute to reducing carbon emissions. There is no one size fits all approach."

The Association also urges the Commission to resolve its own conflict with tackling carbon emissions against air quality. For over twenty years, operators have continued to invest in higher Euro standard trucks to improve air quality across Europe, to the detriment of improving carbon performance. The latest generation of vehicles have been designed around the EU’s new Euro VI standard which sets extremely low limits for nitrous oxide and particulate matter. Now the focus is switched to carbon. There must be a more joined up approach to the carbon and air quality challenge.

FTA added that it welcomes the Commission’s support of refuelling infrastructure for alternative fuels which will help to increase opportunities for the take up of gas HGVs. Additionally, the noting of the role of aerodynamics to increase fuel efficiency is also positive.

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