The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has responded to a new report on climate change by calling for recognition of the essential role that road transport plays in the UK economy.
The Committee on Climate Change is an independent statutory body that advises the UK authorities. Its new ‘Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report’ includes the recommendation “that Ministers seize the opportunity to turn the Covid-19 crisis into a defining moment in the fight against climate change”.
The report to parliament contains several updates on plans for low-emission HGVs, and schemes to improve infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said the report featured “laudable aims” to tackle environmental issues. However, he added that any strategy needs to consider the importance of road transport.
Green business costs
He said: “These must now be set within a sustainable strategy which recognises that environmental and social wellbeing depends on economic wellbeing – and must ensure that road space and infrastructure works for all.
“Hauliers drive economic wellbeing and are essential for supplying local high streets and businesses with the goods we all need.
“With the UK economy forecast to experience its worst recession in living memory, piling “green” costs on to businesses who are on their knees is imperceptive and ill-conceived.
“The Government must forge a strategy with clear standards in place that allow businesses to invest with confidence in the technology needed to decarbonise.”
The CCC report notes that the Government is currently consulting on bringing forward its ‘Road to Zero’ plans to phase out petrol and diesel cars.
It says that a “comprehensive framework for decarbonising HGVs, covering financial incentives, regulation and infrastructure, is needed for the 2020s and should be planned now”.
The RHA published its own report in January, ‘Eliminate, Minimise, Offset’, which called for a roadmap to guide haulage companies on investing in low-carbon/ no-carbon solutions.
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