The UK government is investing £200 million in four green projects that will decarbonize freight vehicles, drive innovation and create new jobs. The funding aims to roll out up to 370 zero-emission Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) on UK roads and support the goal of achieving net-zero emissions. Innovate UK is partnering with the government to deliver the investment, which will also develop around 57 refuelling and electric charging sites for the haulage sector. The goal is to help popular grocery companies such as Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer reduce their transport emissions while protecting them from price hikes associated with volatile petrol and diesel prices. This, in turn, will allow people to save money on purchasing groceries. The eFREIGHT 2030 project, run by Birmingham-based company Voltempo, is one of the recipients of the funding, set to create up to 200 jobs by 2030 through building one of the UK’s first dedicated charging hubs for electric HGVs.
Through the second round of the Freight Innovation Fund, an additional £2.4 million has been unlocked to help up to ten small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) develop new ways to make freight greener, more efficient and more resilient. Specifically, SMEs will benefit from access to funding and expert support to develop their technologies and innovations that promise to make the freight sector grow, become greener and work smarter. Nicola Yates OBE, the CEO at Connected Places Catapult, has stated, “Freight is a crucial sector for the UK and contributes around £127 billion to the economy, but it is not without its challenges. Reducing the sector’s carbon footprint, cutting journey times and easing traffic congestion are key areas of focus, alongside the development of efficient and better-connected logistics hubs.”
In addition, the newly published zero-emission vehicle mandate dictates the percentage of new zero-emission cars and vans that manufacturers will be required to produce annually until 2030. This is part of a “pragmatic and realistic pathway” towards achieving 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035.
Richard Holden, the Roads Minister, said, “Freight and logistics are the beating heart of our economy and it is only right that we celebrate the sector so that it gets the recognition and support it deserves. From boosting zero-emission tech across freight to attracting the future generation of talent to the industry, we are working hard to drive innovation, create jobs and grow the economy by building a brighter, more innovative future for one of our most crucial industries.”