The FTA has warned operators to remain vigilant about the threat of a fuel duty hike this year.

Addressing delegates at last week’s Microlise Transport Conference, FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham said that at 57.95ppl, the UK’s fuel duty remained one of the highest in Europe, with only the Netherlands levying more tax on fuel.

“That number has got a lot to do with Quentin [Willson],” he said. “We should take a moment to acknowledge the fact that number has stayed the same for six years despite the persistent efforts of chancellors of the exchequer to try and increase it.

“That is almost exclusively due to the efforts of FairFuelUK [supported by Willson and run by Cox]. What they have achieved is hugely significant for this industry but also reverberates around Westminster as a campaign to be fearful of. They really have put this issue on the map,” Hookham said.

However, Hookham warned that the political landscape was now changing. “The chancellor is undertaking a review of diesel over the course of the summer. He’s moved his budget to the October period now. In regards that number [57.95ppl] we’re going to have to work really hard to keep the same going forward,” he said.

Hookham also echoed the truck manufacturer panel’s thoughts on the vilification of diesel fuel.

Showing the audience the figure 0.4g/kWh, Hookham said: “All you need to know is that Euro-6 is fantastically good at removing NOx emissions.

“As you are in the industry I’m sure you know that. Our job is convincing the government, and especially local politicians, that actually that is a really good outcome for a diesel engine. It is nothing to be ashamed of,” he said.

“The Euro-6 engine must not be demonised in the way they are currently demonising the rest of the diesel fleet. This is our best in class technology. It is a fantastic achievement for the industry and we should be proud of that achievement.”