The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has today written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP, calling on the Government to act to encourage take up of green technologies and reduce emissions from goods vehicles. Retailers are making progress to address this issue, but without government intervention to generate faster adoption of green vehicles, it will not be possible for the industry to reach its 2035 net zero target.

A new report by BearingPoint, commissioned by the BRC and DP World as part of the BRC’s Climate Action Roadmap, has found that 88% of retailers operating in-house fleets have some type of green fuelled vehicle, but only one quarter of these were operating them on a large scale. The challenge is great: while electric vehicle solutions already exist for Light Goods Vehicles, further technological advances will be needed before electric Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) offer practical alternatives.

The BRC’s letter makes three recommendations to the Secretary of State for Transport:

  • Financial Incentives: To encourage the uptake of green fuelled vehicles. For instance, a 0% VAT rate for new green vehicle purchases would greatly boost their uptake by businesses.
  • Improved Infrastructure: Accelerated roll out of public charging and fuelling infrastructure for green vehicles, particularly along major trunk roads.
  • Legislation: The Government should legislate timescales for phasing out diesel and petrol fuelled Heavy Goods Vehicles.

The BRC’s Climate Action Roadmap aims to ensure the Retail Industry and its supply chains are net zero by 2040 in order to play its part in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels. To achieve this, vehicle carbon emissions must reach net zero by 2035. The BRC has partnered with DP World on its Low Carbon Logistics pathway – one of five pathways under the Climate Action Roadmap.

Peter Andrews, Head of Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said:

“Retailers and fleet operators are making decisions in the next few years about the vehicles that will be operating in 2030 and beyond. This is why it’s so important to make sure that green fuel options are not only available, but invested in. Government has a key part to play, not just in encouraging the take up of these technologies, but also in supporting further research and development in this area. If the UK is to become a world leader in the transition to net zero, we need action today.”

Craig Moore, Head of Commercial - Park at DP World, said:

“The report is timely and shines a spotlight on the steps which need to be taken now if we are to remain on track to achieve net zero targets. We welcome the findings and will continue to work with industry and its representatives to play our part in investing in new and ever greener technology.”