NGVN members write open letter to Secretary of State over ‘Road to Zero’ strategy

5th January 2018
Nine member companies of the Natural Gas Vehicle Network (NGV Network) have written an open letter to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, to ask for clarity on the Government’s developing Road to Zero strategy which could have wide-ranging implications for key transport policies in the coming years. The letter highlights members’ concerns that the strategy is being developed using old data and flawed models which are used to compare conventional petrol and diesel vehicles with cleaner alternatives, such as natural gas.

Mike Foster, CEO of the NGV Network, said: “The Road to Zero strategy presents an excellent opportunity to realise the benefits of natural gas vehicles in order to address the disproportionate emissions produced by heavier vehicles. However, we are concerned that simplistic models, slow testing cycles and a silo mentality in Whitehall will mean this strategy will not draw the best conclusions to drive forward transport decarbonisation.”

Current Department for Transport (DfT) models do not take into account the complex relationship between the energy system and the wider economy, new technologies, consumer behaviour or the environment. They also ignore the added decarbonisation potential of renewable gas fuels produced from waste, despite these fuels receiving funding from a number of DfT programmes.

Mike Foster added:“With illegal levels of air pollutants in our towns and cities rightly rocketing up the political agenda, the Government needs to target its efforts to clean up air quality and decarbonise road transport where it can have the greatest effect. Gas HGVs and buses offer large emissions reductions whilst providing drivers and hauliers with their range their vehicles demand.”

“Without the most recent data and robust modelling that our members are offering to assist with, the Road to Zero strategy could be at best be meaningless and at worst counterproductive. We are calling on the Secretary of State to give our members much-needed clarity over the direction of the strategy and what they can do to improve it for the benefit of all road users.”