Two government programs helping to reduce UK vehicle emissions

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The UK government has announced positive results from two long-term programs that are aiming to help reduce vehicle emissions, as part of its ambition to tackle climate change and improve air quality.

There are record numbers of new ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) on UK roads, as new figures published by the Department for Transport (DfT) show sales are soaring, with 9,657 ULEVs registered in the UK in the last quarter (April to June), an increase of 49% on the same period last year and 253% on two years before.

The rise comes following the extension of the plug-in car and van grant scheme, allowing more than 100,000 additional drivers to benefit until at least 2018. In addition to the grant extension, the government is spending £600m (US$798m) in this parliament to support the rise in ULEVs to achieve its aim for almost all cars and vans to be zero-emission by 2050. The government is committed to tackling climate change and the move to EVs will help the UK cut emissions by 80% by 2050.

UK Roads Minister John Hayes said “I am delighted to see more drivers than ever are choosing electric vehicles. As awareness of the benefits grows, even more motorists will buy these cleaner, greener vehicles, which are cheaper to run. These statistics show our investment is making a real difference in encouraging people to choose electric and help protect the environment.”

Up to 90,000 lorry journeys have been cut under a pilot scheme on UK roads, which has led to cleaner air and reduced congestion. The government’s trial project, using longer semi-trailers to transport goods between warehouses and depots, has saved up to 6.6 million vehicle miles (10.6 million km) and is cutting the number of trucks on the country’s roads. The scheme, which involves approximately 1,800 trucks, is expected to save over 3,000 tonnes of CO? emissions, meaning cleaner air for the public.

The economic benefits of the project are estimated at £33m (US$43.9m) over the next 10 years, with UK truck operators saving up to one in nine journeys by using vehicles that are up to 15% longer than standard 44.6ft (13.6m) rigs. Despite the bigger size, they will still meet the existing maneuverability requirements and maximum weight limit of 44 tonnes for 6-axle vehicles. The new trucks are safer; nationally, they have been involved in around 70% fewer collisions and casualties per kilometer when compared with the average for standard articulated lorries. Following these positive results, the government is consulting trade associations and participants on whether to increase the number of vehicles in the longer semi-trailer trial (LSTT).

Hayes commented, “Lorries are the engine of our economy and this pilot scheme is helping hauliers deliver the day-to-day goods we need more efficiently. This is good news for consumers, a boost for motorists, as it is helping cut congestion with fewer vehicles on the road, and it is also helping the environment.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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