The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) recently reveals an 18-point action plan to deliver net-zero and releases its discussion papers – Decarbonising Logistics and transport – Routes to Net Zero – COP26. In it, it states that it ‘sees no alternative in the long term to road user charging’ as part of transport decarbonisation.
It is suggested in the papers that the charges could ‘cover all journeys/roads and working on a time of day and distance basis and replacing current taxation on vehicles.’ Although, ‘this is not a direct dependency for de-carbonisation but will greatly assist its implementation and fill an impending £35billion government revenue hole.’
Another aspect discussed in the 40-page document concerns EVs, the paper states: ‘the supply of EVs will depend in part on the success of the battery mega-factories the Government hopes to promote in the UK and the supply of metals and other materials used in battery and vehicle production. The extraction of some of these (copper, for example, and aluminium) emits a lot of carbon.
The paper also states: ‘There may be a problem for the second-hand market, which is particularly used by poorer people because EV batteries at present wear out during the lifetime of the vehicle and are expensive to replace.’
‘Failure to introduce a mileage charge to replace the income from fuel duty will reduce EV running costs and is very likely to cause an increase in car use – which is the opposite of what the government wants. The official road traffic forecasts estimate that by 2051 car and van mileage will be 19% higher as a result of the move to EVs. Congestion and non-tailpipe emissions from vehicles will also be correspondingly greater.
The logical answer to all these problems is to introduce a modern system of road charging to replace fuel duty but central and local government are well aware that outside central London this has proved to be unpopular in the past with no progress being made on introducing it for the last 20 years. However, there are some signs that there might be majority support for road charging of some form, particularly among younger people.’
The paper suggests that ‘another way of encouraging people to buy EVs would be to increase fuel duty substantially. This would also reduce mileage, encourage hybrid owners to avoid using the petrol/diesel back-up and bring HMG extra income. Fuel duty has the great advantage of being cheap to collect and almost impossible to evade.
The Government could announce that it intended to replace fuel duty with a mileage charge but that until agreement could be reached on the details of an electronic system the immediate environmental problem left it with no choice. There might be fuel rebates for drivers who opted to have electronic charging (a la Oregon).’
Commenting on the release of the reports, Daniel Parker-Klein, Director of Policy and Communications at CILT (UK) said:
“Climate change is arguably the most pressing environmental challenge of our time, and with logistics and transport accounting for 28% of all UK carbon emissions, our profession has a huge role to play in reaching net zero by 2050. This collection of papers presents our latest thinking as part of CILT’s Route to Net Zero campaign and is intended to prompt and inform debate surrounding COP26. The challenges are great but so too are the opportunities, and CILT believes that our sector will be a key part of the solution.”
To read the full discussion paper, go to ciltuk.org.uk/routetozero