Budget 2017: New study to assess freight congestion and pollution

Chancellor Philip Hammond has asked the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to study the future of freight and its effect on congestion and pollution. The announcement was made alongside the Budget […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Chancellor Philip Hammond has asked the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to study the future of freight and its effect on congestion and pollution.

The announcement was made alongside the Budget this week, which included £540 million for EVs and charging infrastructure, a tax hike for diesel cars which will finance a new £220 million Clean Air Fund and tax breaks for the North Sea oil and gas sector.

The government is also considering introducing a tax on single-use plastic items, said it would provide no subsidies for renewable energy until 2025 and has confirmed landfill tax for illegal dumping.

Economically, freight congestion causes delay that impacts all road users and environmentally, it increases pollution and carbon emissions.

The government is therefore commissioning the study to address the three critical challenges of urban congestion, decarbonisation and preparing the sector to harness the potential of new technologies such as connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), platooning and big data.

In a letter to NIC Chair Lord Adonis, Mr Hammond said: “Lorries cause a third of the UK’s transport CO2 emissions so there is a challenge of decarbonising vehicles used for freight distribution to achieve the government’s targets on air quality and carbon emissions.

“Addressing these three challenges is vital for increasing economic growth, competitiveness and productivity. There is a need to ensure infrastructure provision responds to increased demand from economic growth and shifts in consumer behaviour.”