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Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles

Volume 699: debated on Tuesday 11 March 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, Mr Tom Harris, on 15 January (Official Report, 1090W), why carbon dioxide emissions from heavy goods vehicles have risen from 817 kilotonnes per billion kilometres in 1991 to 920 in 2005; what are the equivalent figures per billion tonne/kilometres of goods carried; and what steps they are taking to ensure that carbon emissions from heavy goods vehicles will be reduced. [HL2194]

The GB and NI traffic census data used to provide HGV kilometres does not record tonnes of goods lifted.  It also includes types of heavy vehicles which do not carry goods, therefore it is not possible to derive an equivalent value of tonne kilometre of goods carried.

The variation in tonnes of CO2 per billion vehicle kilometres between 1990 and 2005 in the previous answer is a result of changes to the composition of the vehicle fleet and increases in the amount of goods carried.  Changes in European standards on emission limits for wider air quality benefits may also have resulted in small increases in fuel consumption. Increasing the load on a vehicle will increase its fuel consumption and resultant CO2 emission, but the overall effect is to increase efficiency and reduce the amount of CO2 emitted per tonne kilometre travelled.

The Government will continue to work with the logistics industry to encourage and support the use of appropriate modes of transport and provide practical advice and guidance in the form of the “Freight Best Practice and Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving” schemes to minimise CO2 emission.