Fitc 2018 seminar Q&A

Retrofit kits are unlikely to meet the needs of the majority of hauliers facing the rapid advance of emission controls across the UK’s towns and cities, delegates at today’s (6 November) Freight in the City Expo were told.

Speaking during session one of the seminar programme, emission control, Natalie Chapman, head of urban policy at the FTA, said that talks with firms working to accredit retrofit systems for Euro-4 and Euro-5 HGVs indicated operators faced a £15,000 to £20,000 bill per truck.

“That suggests retrofit is likely more feasible for operators with specialist vehicles rather than those running standard HGVs,” said Chapman.

“At the same time we have seen the residual value of many Euro-5 trucks plummet due to the clean air zones,” she added.

However, responding to the claim that retrofit is proven for buses but not HGVs yet, Andy Eastlake, MD at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, told delegates that there were now two accredited systems available, pointing to Veolia’s successful trial in London’s Westminster with two Euro-5 refuse trucks and more to come.

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Eastlake said that retrofitting was one option available to operators that couldn’t realistically transition their entire fleet to Euro-6 overnight, and an important one.

“The transition will take time so the availability of retrofit is critical.

“But if you are going to use retrofit make sure it’s accredited [by the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme]. If it’s not accredited it’s not going to get you into a clean air zone without a penalty,” he warned.

However, delegates were left in no doubt that clean air and emission zones, popular or not, are not going away - with London, Glasgow, Leeds, Aberdeen and Southampton all set to ratchet up or introduce curbs within the next year to 18 months - so operators need to find a way forward.

Dr Bob Moran, deputy director, head of environment strategy at the DfT, underlined this in a discussion around the government’s Road to Zero strategy, which includes the target of a 15% reduction in HGV greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. “Clean freight strategy is difficult… but we’ve got to solve it.”

Referring to the four million and growing vans on UK roads, Eastlake added: “The movement of goods into and out of cities is about to change dramatically.”

“We need to move the clean technology out there into the road transport sector… to speed up the effort to clean up the road transport sector,” he said. “A step we want to take together,” he added.