Government offers hauliers £9.5m to set up green fleets

The government is to stump up £9.5m of funding to enable road transport operators to invest in low-carbon vehicles and technology.

The Department for Transport (DfT), in conjunction with the Technology Strategy Board, is asking operators of all sizes to enter a competition to win a slice of the funding, up to a maximum of £750,000 per application, with firms encouraged to enter as a consortium with their fellow hauliers.

The aim of the competition is to encourage widespread introduction of low-carbon vehicles to operators’ fleets, helping the UK meet its CO²-reduction targets and slashing fleet running costs at the same time.

The DfT hopes operators will run fleets of alternative and dual-fuel LGVs, as well as electric and hybrid CVs, by part-funding the difference in costs between traditional and green vehicles. It will also help with the infrastructure costs for setting up a national network of refuelling/recharging sites.

Operators will feedback data to the DfT over a two-year trial period, which will help the government form future policies on low-carbon road freight.

Transport minister Mike Penning says: “These trials will show us how low-carbon technologies perform day-to-day in the real world, providing vital data to build operator confidence in these green trucks.

“The investment in gas refuelling infrastructure will also give haulage firms a push to buy gas-powered LGVs, leaving a legacy that will support low-carbon road freight.”

To qualify for the competition, vehicles must make carbon savings of at least 15% compared with conventional vehicles, while refuelling sites created as part of the trials must be made available to other CV operators, helping to create a network around the UK.

A competition briefing takes place on 9 May, with the deadline for registration on 13 June. All successful consortia will be contacted in early August.