Why the freight sector is heading in the right direction on emissions

Rebecca Kite, environment policy manager at the FTA (Freight Transport Association), writes about why she believes the freight sector is heading in the right direction when it comes to its emissions.

With the government’s target to halve the population’s exposure to toxic air by 2025, many air quality schemes are due to be introduced in the coming years. And while the government has been busy designing and implementing these schemes, the logistics sector has been playing its own role – devising emission-reduction strategies through the Logistics Emissions Reduction Scheme (LERS).

Administered by FTA, LERS is a free to join industry initiative to record, report and reduce carbon emissions from freight transport. The scheme aggregates its members’ fuel usage and business activity data to establish a carbon footprint. It is open to all companies with at least one commercial vehicle; the scheme has more than 134 members with more than 88,000 vehicles.

With the average emissions from LERS members close to 13 per cent lower per vehicle km than the industry average, the scheme has been successfully demonstrating the industry’s ability to improve emissions on its own without further government intervention for many years.

In 2017, members of LERS achieved an impressive four per cent average reduction in their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The scheme is helping logistics businesses reduce their emissions by providing guidance on carbon-reducing measures and sharing valuable techniques on reducing fuel costs. Fuel efficiency measures such as telematics, periodic driver training and tyre management have made a significant impact to the reduction of their vehicle emissions.

They are also moving towards more innovative solutions, such as alternatively powered technologies and fuels.

But the government must match these efforts; it should invest in suitable infrastructure and in the affordability of alternatively-fueled vehicles – to name one area – to drive more widespread and consistent emissions reductions.

While there’s still much to be done to achieve national emission reduction targets, most notably the government’s voluntary industry commitment to reduce HGV GHG emissions by 15% by 2020 (compared to 2015 levels), LERS shows the logistics sector is heading in the right direction.