Friday, November 29, 2019

Freight Transport Group Sets the Agenda for an Emission Free Logistics Future

General Election Manifesto Published
Shipping News Feature

UK – If one is able to bypass the corridor of smoke and mirrors which is Brexit, one of the key issues in Britain's forthcoming General Election is undoubtedly climate change. Those responsible for maintaining the integrity of the country's supply chain have all been speaking out on the matter and this week the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has made special reference to it in its own election manifesto, 'Logistics for Britain'.

The FTA looks to all the political parties to pledge to support the logistics sector on its journey to decarbonisation. As any regular reader knows this is the hot topic and many companies are trumpeting their own efforts to reduce harmful emissions. The manifesto details ten policy asks of the future government, including the development of alternatively-fuelled vehicles, construction of HS2, and igniting a mode shift from road to maritime and rail.

Logistics for Britain has been distributed to the main political parties as well as key senior officials across the Civil Services and the policies requested are intended to enhance Britain’s international competitiveness, secure economic growth and a lower cost of living, and include:

  • the protection of the seamless movement of goods post-Brexit
  • investing in road and rail infrastructure
  • the provision of sufficient driver facilities
  • backing for the Heathrow expansion plan
  • changing the Apprenticeship Levy to a Skills Levy to release much needed funds and to train the workforce of tomorrow
  • making longer semi-trailers a permanent fixture
  • granting continued access to European workers post-Brexit
  • supporting modal shift of goods to maritime and rail
  • the construction of HS2
  • the development of alternatively-fuelled vehicles
The FTA claims that Independent research shows if fuel duty was cut by three pence per litre, the size of the economy in the following 12 months would increase by 0.1% and more than 30,000 jobs would be created. Heidi Skinner, FTA’s Policy & Public Affairs Manager, explained the Association’s position thus:

“The FTA and its members are determined to meet the government’s target of becoming a zero-emission industry within the next few decades, but this cannot be achieved without the right support. We are calling for the next government to actively support and develop the alternatively-fuelled vehicle market so that it becomes possible for businesses of all sizes to transition away from a reliance on diesel vehicles.

”Until these alternatives are available, for example, electric lorries, maintaining the UK’s current levels of Fuel Duty, which are the highest in Europe, serves no environmental purpose. As such, future government should take the opportunity to kick start the UK economy after a period of slow-growth by introducing a reduction in fuel duty by three pence per litre.

“In the UK, 82% of goods are moved by road; even if use of rail and maritime freight does increase, as the FTA is calling for, the predominance of road as the key route for logistics movements will remain. In the view of the FTA, it is vital that alternatively fuelled vehicles can be deployed as soon as possible for the UK to meet its zero-emission targets.”