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Freight: Transport

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the relative carbon efficiency of transporting freight by rail and by road. (139748)

Making direct comparisons between these types of transport is not straightforward because of the range of factors that impact on fuel efficiency; for example, the size of the vehicle or how heavily laden it is. However, an assessment has been made of the carbon dioxide (CO2) efficiency of transporting freight by road, rail and other methods. This forms part of the ‘Guidelines for Company Reporting on Greenhouse Gas Emissions’, published by DEFRA, to assist companies in reporting their carbon emissions. Emissions for freight carried by road (table 1) are based on how full the vehicle is, and conversion factors for CO2 emissions per tonne kilometre are provided for rail (table 2) and other freight transport types. It is possible to calculate CO2 emissions from transporting a certain amount of freight by road or rail from these data.

Table 1 Calculation of CO2 emissions from freight carried by road

Diesel freight road mileage conversion factors

Type of lorry

Percentage weight laden

Total km travelled

x

litres fuel per km

x

Fuel conversion factor

Total kg C02

Rigid

0

x

0.236

x

2.63

25

x

0.262

x

2.63

50

x

0.288

x

2.63

75

x

0.314

x

2.63

100

x

0.340

x

2.63

Articulated

0

x

0.311

x

2.63

25

x

0.345

x

2.63

50

x

0.379

x

2.63

75

x

0.414

x

2.63

100

x

0.448

x

2.63

Table 2 Calculation of CO2 emissions from other freight transport

Other freight transport mileage conversion factors

Freight transport mode

Tonne km

x

Factor

Total kg CO2

Rail

x

0.03

Air

long haul

x

0.57

short haul

x

1.58

Shipping

small roll on-roll off

x

0.06

large roll on-roll off

x

0.02

small tanker

x

0.04

large tanker

x

0.003

small bulk carrier

x

0.014

large bulk carrier

x

0.007

Further details are available on the DEFRA website. The guidelines are currently being updated and are scheduled to be published soon.