A national plan to reduce road freight emissions in the UK has been criticised by the Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) saying it is ‘simplistic and won’t inspire confidence.’

Richard Burnett, the RHA boss, was responding to a report published by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), which recommended banning the sale of diesel Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) by 2040. The report, entitled ‘Better Delivery: The Challenge for Freight’ said the industry should aim to make the trucking industry carbon-zero by 2050.

He said that there is no clear roadmap from the UK Government for the trucking industry to transition from diesel to cleaner fuels.

“New technology is welcome, but it needs to be practical and affordable. A premature switch to zero-emissions lorries would disproportionately impact small freight operators,” he said.

Burnett said that the ban of diesel-powered trucks by 2040 is not credible as there are no viable alternatives available on the market.

In other news, the RHA has also taken aim at the Mayor of London’s plans to impose fines of £100 (US$130) per day on trucks powered by Euro V engines to reduce road-side pollution in an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) located in the heart of the nation’s capital.

The RHA claims that additional costs incurred by way of fines on operators of HGVs not meeting the cleaner Euro VI engine standards will force many trucking companies out of business. Burnett added that the penalties would ‘completely wipe out’ the profit margins of thousands of operators and make new vehicle acquisitions ‘impossible’.

The scale of the problem facing the trucking sector is enormous as only 50% of the 188,000 trucks delivering to London each year comply with the latest emission standards, according to the RHA. Burnett said the increase in cost faced by the road transport sector would ultimately lead to price increases for freight forwarders and shippers.