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Programme launched to develop low-carbon fleet in the UK

A £23m demonstration programme is being launched to encourage road haulage operators to buy and use low-carbon commercial vehicles.

The Government is providing £11m funding for the scheme, which will see 13 companies lead trials to establish and run fleets of alternative and dual heavy goods vehicles. The funding will meet part of the difference in capital costs for the vehicles.

Over 300 vehicles will be involved in the programme and 11 new public access refueling stations will be provided around the country. These will also be available for use by other operators.

The programme will run for two years and be managed by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the DfT and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles. The DfT will gather and analyse data throughout the project.

Freight minister Mike Penning said the programme would deliver long term benefits for the environment and reduced costs for operators.

He said: “There has been a great response to this competition from industry and the successful projects bring together a range of partners including fleet operators, vehicle convertors, gas hub providers and universities.

“These trials will reduce CO2 emissions from freight and provide important information from a range of real-life situations that will increase industry confidence in low carbon trucks in the long term.”

Iain Gray, chief executive of the TSB, said: “This trial will enable commercial vehicle operators to showcase alternative-fuel commercial vehicles. It will help to accelerate a wider understanding and acceptance of low carbon vehicle technologies, while enabling the development of alternative fuel infrastructures.”

The 13 demonstrator trials will be led by: Ascott Transport Ltd (Derbyshire), Brit European Transport Ltd (Crewe), CNG Services Ltd (Solihull; two trials), G-Volution Ltd (Newport, Gwent), Howard Tenens Associates Ltd (Gloucestershire & Wiltshire), J.B. Wheaton and Sons Ltd (Somerset), John Lewis Partnership plc (London), T Baden Hardstaff Ltd (Nottingham), Robert Wiseman Dairies (Glasgow), Tesco plc (Northants), The BOC Group (Guildford) and United Biscuits UK Ltd (Leicestershire).

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