Thursday, May 2, 2013

Freight Transport Scheme and Other Evidence Suits DfT, Road Haulage and Shipping Interests Alike

Latest Carbon Review Avoids Compulsory Eco Training for Drivers
Shipping News Feature

UK – Yesterday the Department for Transport published its Freight Carbon Review, a study launched in October 2010 as a response to an earlier consultation to consider the benefits of training road haulage and bus and coach drivers in an ‘eco-friendly’ fashion. At the time it was initiated it was decided, after lobbying from vested interests, that mandatory training would not be introduced as part of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). The review has announced that this policy will continue after monitoring statistical evidence as it came available.

This evidence however is not as the DfT originally anticipated. Utilising the Continuing Survey of Road Goods Transport (CSRGT) for comparisons for fuel purchased against distance travelled proved impossible. The time lag between data for litres of fuel purchased against road miles covered, coupled with the short time span since monitoring began is cited as making the figures unusable and a similar problem afflicting carbon emissions from HGV’s has meant that the DoT turned to other sources to gather evidence.

By the time the study got under way the Freight Transport Association (FTA) had already launched its Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme (LCRS) and it is this which the DFT drew on to compile yesterday’s report. LCRS participants which responded to a survey evidenced that voluntary driver training in ‘eco driving’, monitoring fuel performance figures by road haulage operators and a switch to automatic transmissions had all contributed substantially to an improvement on track equal to that which the government has aspired to.

The report admits that an intermodal switch had not achieved hoped for targets and describes a modal shift as ‘unpopular’ with hauliers without going into details but admitting that ‘for some companies this may not be possible’. Other logistics businesses were also considered and the Chamber of Shipping gave a detailed outline of the attempts that sector of industry is making in a bid to reduce emissions. The LCRS target of an 8% reduction by 2015 against 2010 levels would seem to have satisfied the DfT and the FTA were understandably delighted that their scheme had been given such credibility. Rachael Dillon, FTA's Climate Change Policy Manager saying:

"The Freight Carbon Review clearly shows the benefits of an industry-led approach to carbon reduction which has been successfully demonstrated by the Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme. We welcome the Department’s decision to continue to work with industry on carbon reduction rather than introducing regulation. It is not just the FTA but logistics companies themselves that have developed a workable carbon reporting scheme for industry and we encourage those who have not already done so to join the LCRS and ensure that a voluntary approach to carbon reduction continues."

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) also welcomed the DfT decision that eco-driving training will not be made a mandatory element of Driver CPC saying it would continue to offer renewed discussions on how government can best contribute to improving the carbon performance of the road haulage and distribution sector. Commenting, RHA Director of Policy, Jack Semple said:

“The RHA has made clear that fuel saving has long been a priority for road haulage and distribution companies, not least among medium-sized and smaller firms. That has been brought into even sharper focus due to the twin factors of the exceptionally high price of fuel and the severe economic climate over the past five years. We have noted an increase in the use of new technologies.”