‘Last-mile’ deliveries, involving solutions such as cargo bikes, electric vans and ‘micro vehicles’ could help to improve air quality in towns and cities, ministers have said today (30 July).
The government is seeking views on the opportunity for new transport modes to replace diesel delivery vans in urban areas, and potentially benefit air quality.
Following on from the launch of the government’s ‘Road to Zero’ transport strategy launched earlier this month, the Department for Transport is now calling for views as to how delivery firms can be encouraged to shift to less polluting ‘last mile’ operations.
According to the government, a boom in internet shopping has seen a growth in home deliveries, which has led to a marked rise in van traffic – much of which is made up of diesel vans.
“This shift has had immediate economic benefits for consumers, but it has also led to congestion, poor air quality and other environmental problems,” ministers have said.
As part of the consultation launched today, ministers are keen to hear how lower emission transport modes could displace diesel vans in towns and cities. “We believe new electrical modes of delivery, including e-cargo bikes, micro vehicles and e-vans, can play a key role in the last mile delivery of goods,” DfT concluded.
Logistics firms have been asked for their views on whether incentives would be needed to encourage a shift to cleaner last mile deliveries, and the scale of the potential environmental benefits.
Government has also today launched a wider call for evidence on the Future of Mobility, which aims to assess changing trends in urban transport.
Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “The UK has a long and proud history of leading the world in transport innovation and our Future of Mobility Grand Challenge is designed to ensure this continues.
“We are on the cusp of an exciting and profound change in how people, goods and services move around the country which is set to be driven by extraordinary innovation.
“This could bring significant benefits to people right across the country and presents enormous economic opportunities for the UK, with autonomous vehicles sales set to be worth up to £52 billion by 2035.
“Our Last Mile call for evidence and Future of Mobility call for evidence mark just one stage in our push to make the most of these inviting opportunities.”