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Emissions rise despite growth in new electric van sales

June 25, 2024

UK van emissions have risen despite a growth in the number of electric vehicles on the roads.

A new study by Transport & Environment (T&E) shows van emissions in the UK have increased by 63% since 1990, contrasting with a 19% decrease in emissions from cars and taxis during the same period.

The rise in van emissions is attributed to a significant increase in the number of vans on the road, with over a million added since 2014. The majoirty of new vans added to the vehicle parque are primarily diesel-powered.

The UK government's Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate, launched in January 2024, aims to address this by requiring a growing percentage of new van sales to be zero-emission. However, the current uptake of electric vans in the UK lags behind other European nations.

Ralph Palmer, UK Electric Vehicle and Fleets Officer at Transport and Environment, said: “The continued rise in van emissions in the UK is alarming. Despite the push for more electric vans on our roads, we are still witnessing a surge in greenhouse gas emissions from vans as a result of sustained sales of diesel vans, countering trends we are seeing in the car market. "

Palmer added: "The ZEV mandate introduced this year is an important step to increasing the supply of electric vans to the UK, but it’s clear that more action is needed to boost electric van demand among fleets to ensure we achieve the triple-win of tackling emissions, reducing running costs for small businesses, and boosting energy security."

"The new Government should bring forward plans for stronger financial support and action to improve the nation's charging infrastructure for van drivers to ensure the UK doesn’t continue to fall behind other European countries,” he continued.

A separate survey by Clean Cities indicates public support for stricter measures to tackle emissions. Nearly half of those surveyed believe the financial burden of climate action should fall on businesses, and over half support additional charges on deliveries to fund clean air initiatives.

Clean Cities is launching the Clean Cargo Capital campaign, aiming to transform Central London into a hub for zero-emission deliveries. T&E is calling for the next UK government to introduce financial incentives and improve charging infrastructure to encourage wider adoption of electric vans.

Oliver Lord, UK Head of Clean Cities, said, “There’s no way we’ll clean our air and hit our climate goals unless we do more to help businesses switch away from polluting diesel vans, which are increasing in record numbers. The share of electric vans sold in the Netherlands is twice that in the UK, which is no doubt driven by Dutch cities introducing zero emission zones for delivery and goods vehicles next year."

"Newly elected mayors and a new government offers an opportunity for the UK to get fired up and do everything it can to boost electric van sales. With greater regulatory ambition, better incentives and continued support for small businesses, there is every possibility that London could become the clean cargo capital of the world,” Lord said.

Written by: thevanreviewer 

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