Smart Transport

Government responds to NIC's study on future of freight

Truck on the road

The Government has published its formal response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) 2019 study on the future of freight.

According to the study, Better delivery: the challenge for freight, through the adoption of new technologies and the recognition of freight’s needs in the planning system, it is possible to decarbonise road and rail freight by 2050 and manage its contribution to congestion.

The Government’s response welcomes the core themes of the Commission’s report, focused on raising the status of freight in government and taking a cross-modal approach to policymaking and investment decisions.

The response sets out how ministers will develop the themes through the newly inaugurated Freight Council and the development of a Future of Freight strategic plan, both of which were recommended by the Commission.

The Government has recently opened a consultation on NIC’s recommendation to end the sale of new diesel heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by 2040, it said.

John Armitt, chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: “It is encouraging that, amid the pandemic, it has formed a Freight Council in line with our proposal, bringing together representatives from across all modes to inform Government’s thinking on the future of freight.

“But as the pandemic has shown, we are becoming ever more reliant on freight – just as the need to decarbonise our roads and rail networks becomes more pressing.

“To meet the needs of industry, Government’s forthcoming Future of Freight Plan must address the need for a comprehensive assessment of infrastructure requirements to enable freight decarbonisation, including work with distribution network operators to plan future upgrades.

“We look forward to seeing the detailed plan later this year.”

The Government published its transport decarbonisation plan on July 14, setting out its commitments and the actions needed to decarbonise the entire transport system in the UK.

It also announced a £20 million fund for zero-emission road freight projects, including feasibility studies into electric road systems and hydrogen fuel cell trucks.

Read the Government's response to the study on the website.

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