Leading industry trade body, the Gas Vehicle Network, (GVN), has responded to Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps’ Transport Decarbonisation Plan.
Isaac Occhipinti, Director of External Affairs, GVN said: “We welcome the Government’s proposal to end the sale of diesel polluting HGVs given their disproportionately high rate of emissions and the associated impacts on air quality due to air pollutants.
“However, we are concerned that an unintended consequence of this policy is that it will also encompass HGVs potentially running on biomethane, a renewable fuel produced 100% from waste that can already be certified as carbon neutral. Banning a carbon neutral fuel which is available 30 years in advance of the UK’s net zero target would be a highly retrograde step which will not deliver on the overarching ambitious aims of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan.”
Industry statistics show that use of biomethane as a transport fuel is growing rapidly in this sector. In 2020, 93% of the total gas fuel dispensed for HGVs was in fact renewable biomethane.
The latest Government’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation [RTFO] stats show that biomethane used in HGVs was up from 80% in 2019, an increase of over 16% in a year. This also follows a 78% increase in sales of renewable gas as a transport fuel during 2020.
Isaac Occhipinti added: “Mr Shapps recognises that ‘Cleaner transport will create and support highly skilled jobs, with the production of zero emission road vehicles alone having the potential to support tens of thousands of jobs in the UK’.
“Renewable gas as a transport fuel is evidently already creating jobs as the industry is already well established. Not only is biomethane reducing carbon emissions today it is also capable of transporting the UK to Net Zero 2050. Rather than banning a successful, ‘no regrets’ carbon neutral fuel available now and gambling on as-of-yet ‘undeveloped alternatives’, the Transport Secretary should back biomethane well beyond 2040.”
The GVN recently published a paper ‘A Green Recovery- Delivering a rapid & cost-effective CO₂ reduction for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs)’ to demonstrate the carbon saving potential of biomethane HGVs.