The government’s Climate Action Plan, launched last week (17 June 2019), failed to recognise the vital role the freight transport industry must play in tackling climate change, in the view of FTA Ireland (FTAI). According to Aidan Flynn, General Manager of FTAI, without a clear plan for the logistics sector, the government will struggle to meet its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050:
“FTAI is calling for the government to recognise the vital role the logistics sector will play in achieving the targets set out in the Climate Action Plan. Commercial trucks and vans accounted for 21 per cent of all transport emissions and 9.2 per cent of Ireland’s total CO2 emissions in 2018. And while the sector is committed to reducing its environmental impact, it needs the right support and guidance from the government.
“As an island nation, Ireland is reliant on the movement of freight by road; the logistics sector is vital to the country’s economy. To ensure the government’s climate change targets are achieved in a sustainable manner – without impacting the economy – the delivery of new infrastructure will be key.”
Mr Flynn continued: “According to FTAI, the government must support the sector’s transition to alternative technologies. Currently, there is only one compressed CHG refuelling site in Ireland. And while the government has promised to have 14 public refuelling sites open by 2020, in the view of FTAI, it is very unlikely this project will be delivered in seven months. It is similar picture with electric vehicles: the infrastructure is simply not in place. And in many cases, the weight of batteries counteract any benefit operators may gain from electric vehicles. FTAI is calling for the government to increase the permissible weight limit of vehicles driven under a B licence to 4.25tonne for electric / hybrid vehicles, to take account of the increased vehicle weight due to the battery.
“While there is no reference to freight in the report, there is reference to fuel equalisation and the banning of the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030. The freight industry is reliant on diesel for the foreseeable future; the government should proceed with caution and avoid introducing a blanket ban of diesel engines. In the view of FTAI, it should separate the commercial fleet sector from the general transport sector to protect competitiveness. Instead, it should support ECO driver training and fuel management initiatives – such as TruckSafe and VanSafe – which audit fuel management practices. It should also recognise the progress that has already been made: Euro VI diesel heavy goods vehicles, which were introduced in 2013, reduced NOX by 80% over Euro V engines.”
Flynn continued: “The government must be fully committed to moving to a low-carbon future in a collaborative manner; a supportive approach must be taken, and that involves engaging the commercial sector in promoting viable solutions.”
FTA Ireland is a not-for-profit membership trade association for the Irish freight, passenger and logistics industries. We are wholly owned and governed by our members, and act solely in advancing their best interests. FTA Ireland covers all aspects of private and public freight transport, passenger transport and logistics supply chain, including road, rail, sea and air. FTAI represents some of the largest freight and passenger operators in Ireland, with more than 25,000 employees and 10,000 vehicles operating between them.