2020 will be a tipping point for haulage, with manufacturers and companies taking their environmental and road safety responsibilities seriously and embracing greener alternatives, according to the founder of Swedish startup Volta Trucks.

Carl-Magnus Norden said that the introduction of the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) in London in October 2020 will put pressure on the industry to upgrade their fleets.

But he also predicted that this pressure will be intensified by more UK cities following Bristol’s lead and announcing plans to ban diesel vehicles, as well as the launch of the UK’s first 24/7 zero emission street in east London.

Norden, who will step down as CEO in February to be replaced by DPD Group’s Rob Fowler, said: “2020 will see more HGV regulations, such as the Direct Vision Standard in London, come into place, and I believe more UK cities will follow the lead of Bristol to announce plans to ban diesel vehicles or to introduce specific zero-emission streets such as Beech Street in London.

“Combined, this will put even greater pressure on truck manufacturers and fleet owners to upgrade their vehicles to be greener and safer.

“While it won’t happen overnight, I think 2020 will be the year when our industry gets serious about positive change.”

This week, the City of London Corporation said it backed plans to launch the zero emission street on Beech Street, in a bid to improve air quality in the Square Mile.

The road, much of which runs under the Barbican Estate, is now expected to be restricted to zero emission vehicles by Spring 2020, pending final approval by Transport for London.

The experimental traffic order will run for 18 months, during which time the impact on air quality and traffic will be monitored.

Oliver Sells QC, chairman of the planning and transportation committee said: “The experimental scheme will be enforced using the latest in smart camera technology and I hope it will be the first of many other schemes like this.”

Both the RHA and FTA have argued that there are more effective ways to reduce vulnerable road user casualties on the capital’s roads than through the use of the DVS.