Logistics UK calls for faster progress on low carbon plans to support business investment

Thursday 30 March 2023

Following the government’s announcement made today (30 March), Logistics UK has welcomed progress on green energy and energy security but expressed disappointment at the continued lack of a plan for a green transition for larger logistics vehicles.

Kate Jennings, Director of Policy at Logistics UK, comments: “The UK has the opportunity to be a leader in green innovation and investment, and this plan is a step in the right direction for parts of the UK’s logistics network. However, it remains vital that the government provides a delivery roadmap for commercial electric vehicle infrastructure, low carbon fuels (LCFs) and rail electrification, so businesses can invest in confidence.

“For operators electrifying their fleet, the capital expenditure required for depot charging can be extortionately high, with some operators who are currently in the process of electrifying their van fleets reporting costs of over £1 million – which is often not commercially viable, especially if premises are leased. The UK therefore needs a roadmap for electric logistics vehicles that includes a fair approach to funding electricity connections for depot charging. Public charge points must ensure sufficient space for logistics vehicles and fast charging points to enable operators to maximise the efficiency of fleets.”

In the view of Logistics UK, there is much slower progress for large parts of the logistics system where electric is not a viable option. The drive for domestic production and use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and low carbon hydrogen is positive news but progress needs to be made on LCFs, rail electrification and vehicle technology trials if industry is to have the clarity it needs to confidently invest in the green transition, now.


Ms Jennings continues: “Continued delays to the Zero Emission Road Freight (ZERFT) Demonstration programme are disappointing. Once started, trials will likely take place over multiple years, with results to be analysed and changes to be implemented. As a result, this is a longer-term project and, as was made clear recently by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), catastrophic environmental impacts are rapidly becoming inevitable. It is important that the winning bidders are announced as soon as possible so that the trials can progress.


“While new technologies are being developed, LCFs provide a viable option for reducing carbon emissions by up to 80% with immediate effect, without significant vehicle modifications needed. This is especially important given today’s vehicles will remain in use for years to come. Logistics UK is calling for a LCF strategy for all logistics transport modes, backed by infrastructure, innovation funding and tax incentives. It is essential that government provides businesses with a clear regulatory framework that enables confidence to invest; a call that is supported by the Transport Committee. The electrification of the rail network should also be expedited as that is a known and proven technology for cutting emissions.” 


Logistics UK is clear that, if the country is to achieve Net Zero by 2050 in line with government’s stated objectives, comprehensive strategies must be published as soon as possible, in consultation with the sector.


Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With decarbonisation, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.