Government must act now on Low Emission Taskforce Recommendations

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The Government must urgently act on the recommendations detailed in the Low Emission Vehicle Taskforce Phase 2 Report, according to Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI). The report sets out a clear path for State to take to assist the transport sector on its journey to decarbonisation.

Commenting on the document, Aidan Flynn, General Manager of FTAI, stated: “Currently, our air quality poses a very real threat to human health and the logistics sector is keen to play its part in cleaning up the atmosphere we breathe.  The FTAI is calling for the Government to act urgently on the recommendations provided by the Low Emission Vehicle Taskforce in its Phase 2 Report. We are engaged with the Taskforce for its research into the report and can confidently say it sets out a viable and effective route for the Government to take to accelerate the take-up of low carbon technologies in the transport sector.”

“In the view of FTAI, the first step the Government should take is to fund eco-driver training. This has the potential to boost fuel efficiency by up to 15% by improving driver behaviour. In turn, this would significantly reduce emissions. Really, this should have been identified as a critical solution in the report. This approach would appeal to businesses as they would profit from the cost-benefit of improved fuel efficiencies. This programme would also act as an education tool, helping to raise awareness of the alternative technologies available, in addition to helping to inform purchasing choices that would be beneficial in the future.”

Four of the key recommendations in the report are listed below:

  1. Establish a vehicle purchase grant for EV/CNG/LNG/Hydrogen fuelled HGVs to support increased uptake of low emission vehicles
  2. Introduce a new reduced tolling incentive regime for CNG/LNG fuelled HGVs
  3. Consider extending the low excise rate of €2.60 per GI on natural gas as a vehicle fuel to allow for delays of infrastructure provision
  4. Consider extending the accelerated capital allowance (ACA) scheme for LNG/CNG vehicles beyond 2021

“In the view of FTAI, the key to transitioning transport to a low-emission industry is the development of infrastructure to support the fuelling of alternative fuels. To date, there is only one publicly available refuelling site in Ireland for CNG, but Gas Networks Ireland has pledged to deliver 14 sites by the end of 2020. This needs to become a reality – and fast – so that industry can trust that this is a viable option and make the necessary investment in new vehicles, and is of particular concern for those businesses that have committed to this fuelling option already. While CNG and LNG do offer a way for commercial fleet operators to improve the environmental performance of their vehicles, there must be a clear business case to provoke them to purchase this technology. After all, it is considerably more expensive that the diesel equivalent. Trust needs to be developed to ensure that the business case is matched with the ability to access the fuel.”

“We also are seeing an uptake in businesses purchasing second-hand trucks from the UK, as, due to the introduction of low emissions zones in their cities, many of these vehicles are now banned. But the purchase of these older vehicles – while tempting due to the affordability – must be discouraged as their environmental credentials are poor.”