The logistics industry needs the full support of the Scottish Government in order to achieve decarbonisation, the Freight Transport Association has said, following publication today of a Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report on Scotland’s emissions.
Scotland reduced emissions by over 45 per cent in 2014 compared to 1990 levels and is generally making good progress on greenhouse gas reduction. However, there are challenges ahead for cutting transport emissions as demand increases.
Although the CCC reports that HGV emissions are 10 per cent lower than in 1990, it calls for improvements in freight operations suggesting a shift to rail and use of consolidation centres plus driver training and greener vehicles. The CCC also suggests that low emission zones (LEZs) could be used to reduce the number of HGVs entering urban areas.
Rachael Dillon, FTA’s Climate Change Policy Manager, said: “As fuel represents around a third of a fleet’s operating costs, industry is already taking significant steps to improve fuel and carbon efficiency. LEZs can reduce air pollutants by tightening up the utilisation of cleaner vehicles but they can create significant cost burdens, especially for small businesses. Scottish cities will still need the same number of vehicles to deliver essential goods, so LEZs would have little effect on the vehicle numbers or levels of congestion.”
Use of rail freight over long distances should be maximised but it can never fully replace road, so HGVs should be operated as efficiently as possible. The use of consolidation centres is also challenging as currently they have to be subsidised by local authorities to be viable.
A move towards alternative fuels and low carbon technologies could help reduce emissions, but industry needs support and incentives to start making the switch. Infrastructure and added costs are presenting a real barrier for operators looking at alternatives to diesel.
Decarbonisation actions are being taken by members of FTA’s Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme (LCRS) and beyond. The LCRS has been running for six years as an initiative for companies to record, report and reduce their carbon emissions from freight transport. LCRS members across the UK are making significantly better progress in reducing emissions than the industry as a whole.
Rachael Dillon continued: “We want to encourage operators of all sizes to put carbon on their agenda, and to support the many companies that are already making great progress. We call on Scottish Government to support the sector as it sets out policies in its upcoming Climate Change Plan this winter.”