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UK firms challenged to cut freight emissions

According to a statement from the Department for Transport, Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) companies are urged to compete for up to GBP 15 million (≈ EUR 17 million) of funding to develop technology to reduce harmful emissions from freight.

A busy street in central London. According to the UK government, evidence shows that poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, costing the country up to GBP 2.7 billion in lost productivity in 2012. The UK is one of 17 European Union (EU) countries breaching annual targets for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a problem which has been made worse by the failure of the European testing regime for vehicle emissions.

The UK Roads Minister Jesse Norman has called on UK businesses to lead research into low-emission technology for lorries, as well as cars and vans. The projects could see materials which make vehicles lighter or improve the efficiency of engines or batteries.

We have made important progress in lowering emissions and are always looking at further ways of improving air quality. Lorries cause a third of the UK’s transport CO₂ emissions and simple new technologies can have the greatest impact in reducing the harmful pollutants of freight. This funding will give UK companies the chance to lead the world in developing important innovations to improve air quality across the country. The government is continuing to find innovative ways of improving air quality across the country and the funding comes just a month after the Air quality plan, said Roads Minister, Jesse Norman.

The competition has been developed with Innovate UK and will help the government achieve its ambition to be a global leader in electric vehicle technology and to see all new vehicles emission-free by 2040.

We welcome this significant further investment in zero-emission research and development funding, in particular, its focus on freight and commercial vehicles as this is a major opportunity for UK companies to drive forward innovations, said Simon Edmonds, Director Manufacturing and Materials at Innovate UK.

The first of the projects in the government’s low emission freight and logistics trial, announced earlier this year, are now using new electric and hydrogen dual-fuel vehicles on our roads. By mid-2018, more than 300 of these low-emission vehicles will be on UK roads. There are currently 118 000 ULEV’s registered to date and more than 11 000 registered between April and June this year.

Since 2010, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK have invested more than GBP 300 million (≈ EUR 341 million) in research and development, targeted at improving technologies for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), which has unlocked a further GBP 200 million (≈ EUR 227.35 million) of private sector investment.

The competition is the 14th in the joint Innovate UK and OLEV integrated delivery programme and is open for applications from UK companies.

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