The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has expressed its disappointment in the Department for Transport’s report designed to plot the UK’s urban strategy.

The DfT report entitled Future Mobility: Urban Strategy outlines a vision in which the UK can utilise emerging technology and reduce the environmental impact of urban travel. Replying to the report the FTA have claimed that urban freight has been “ignored” and that the report “fails to make a single substantive mention of HGVs” despite their continue importance in urban delivery.

According to the FTA, 2.5m tonnes of goods are delivered to towns and cities around the UK by HGV every day. Whilst the range of freight vehicles also includes vans and has an increasing focus on e-cargo bikes, the capacity of HGVs means that it is able to transport a greater amount of goods and is more efficient.

Whilst navigating the urban environment remains a challenge, the FTA argues that if the current emphasis on HGVs is downsized to focus on vans and e-cargo bikes, the number of vehicles needed to transport the same amount of goods would increase, making congestion worse, not better.

This presents a challenge for business and certainly one that will be felt most keenly by those businesses in logistics and freight. 

There is a tension between the central role of HGVs and the resulting negative environmental impact. HGVs constitute 18% of UK road transport emissions, second only to passenger cars with transport being responsible for more of UK total emissions than any other category, with 27%.

The government must ensure the voice of business - in this case, the need to keep the UK supply chain moving efficiently - is taken into account as environmental frameworks are being developed.  So too must organisation like the FTA encourage its members to reduce the emissions output from within the freight sector.