British Minister of State for Transport Baroness Kramer will provide £4 million (USD 5.95 m) to support the early deployment of publically accessible gas refuelling points for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) across the UK. The investment would give businesses who use gas-powered trucks the flexibility to refuel en route, rather than having to specifically plan journeys between refuelling stations.
Baroness Kramer added: “This investment will make it even easier for British businesses to increase their uptake of cleaner gas powered HGVs. It will not just improve local air quality, but benefit those who develop and manufacture this technology and reinforces our commitment to the UK automotive industry.”
The government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles will work with Innovate UK and the freight sector to identify areas where demand for infrastructure is highest. Gas retailers and other interested parties will be encouraged to bid for a share of the funding. The winners will be announced next year.
The UK Freight Transport Association, representing the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air, has described the government investment as good news for the freight industry.
Rachael Dillon, FTA’s Climate Change Policy Manager, commented: “Gas offers a viable way for operators to switch to alternative fuels to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality especially on long trunking journeys where electric and hybrid technology is impractical. Currently, there are limited number of public refuelling stations for operators to refuel gas HGVs. This is one of the major factors preventing the market from taking off.”
FTA put forward a submission to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in early 2014 calling for financial support for the HGV sector to help invest in alternative fuels and technologies that will reduce carbon emissions and help improve air quality.
The Association has said that an increase in gas refuelling infrastructure will enable operators without their own refuelling facilities to use gas vehicles and allow those who tend to refuel at base to operate more efficiently and cover larger trip distances.
FTA stated that a commitment from Government for funding will also give operators reassurance to invest and makes a stronger business case for dual fuel gas or dedicated gas vehicles, which are significantly more expensive than conventional diesel.
Details of FTA’s an ongoing campaign for a national gas refuelling infrastructure for HGVs can be found by clicking her (pdf file).
(Sources: UK Department for Transport and Office for Low Emission Vehicles; FTA)