The National Infrastructure Commission has called for the sale of new diesel HGV lorries to be banned by 2040 to help the freight sector become carbon free.

In a report published today (17 April), the commission said the development of battery-powered HGVs is already “well advanced” and the move would also help ease worsening congestion around the country.

In particular, the report calls on ministers to set out within the next two years how they plan to ban all sales of petrol and diesel HGVs by 2040 and begin preparing the nation’s infrastructure for the transition to hydrogen and battery-powered vehicles.

It also calls on Ofgem to work with the freight industry to enable charging at depots by 2025.

“Today’s report says we need to set out bold plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel HGVs, bring emissions from freight and both road and rail to zero, and give the industry greater visibility in Whitehall and town halls,” said commission chair, Sir John Armitt.

The report also calls for the creation of a new freight leadership council, which would bring together representatives from across the transport sector and parts of the supply chain.

In addition, it recommends the government publish a full strategy by the end of 2021 for eliminating carbon emissions from rail freight by 2050.

“Unless the government commits now to working with the industry, the impact of freight on congestion and carbon emissions will only increase, damaging the quality of life of communities up and down the country,” added commissioner, Andy Green.

“Freight can no longer be a mere afterthought, but must be factored into long term transport plans, with a coordinated approach across government departments to ensure it doesn’t slip through the cracks.”

“That’s why we’re recommending city authorities should also incorporate freight as part of their long-term infrastructure strategies, alongside transport, jobs and new homes.”

Yesterday, a 350kW-ready fast charging station was opened in Sunderland by Amsterdam-based charging company Fastned.

The West Wear Street station is designed, built and operated by Fastned and is owned by the North East Joint Transport Committee and funded through the Go Ultra Low Cities Grant and the European Regional Development Fund.