Time to increase shift from petrol & diesel to automotive LPG
Calor Gas writes ahead of next week's Queen's Speech and calls for a new bill to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions.
"My Government will introduce a bill to urgently tackle air pollution and drastically reduce emissions from road transport"
Last year the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) coordinated a cross-departmental effort to submit new air quality plans to the European Commission due to pressure from the environmental law firm Client Earth.
The proposals include the establishment of Clean Air Zones in English cities including Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby, Southampton and Leeds. London will introduce an Ultra-Low Emission Zone in 2020.
Calor welcomed the recognition of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and the role it could play to help reduce harmful emissions of NOx, PM and CO2 quickly and at the lowest cost in Defra’s response. However, the plan lacked any significant policy proposals to help drive uptake of LPG by motorists.
Defra has come under sustained criticism from Client Earth and other stakeholders, including the Common’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee who have called on the Government to go further. Client Earth is taking the Government back to court seeking a judicial review, serving government lawyers with papers in March claiming that its renewed plans fail to do enough.
Furthermore, a recent report by Policy Exchange, King’s College London and the Capital City Foundation entitled ‘Up in the Air’ recommended greater use of LPG in order to reduce emissions in London. It argues that Government needs to give greater clarity to motorists on fuel duty for LPG. Between 2001 and 2011, fuel duty for LPG increased threefold, compared to only a 26% increase for petrol and diesel. The report recommended that the Chancellor should remove the fuel duty escalator in LPG. Despite evidence to the contrary, ministers are refusing to send this positive signal to motorists as LPG is viewed unfavourably against other fuels on the Government’s Alternative Fuel Framework. This framework has not been reviewed with industry since it was adopted over 13 years ago.
Paul Blacklock, head of corporate affairs and strategy at Calor Gas said: “LPG Autogas has the opportunity to significantly reduce harmful emissions from transport quickly and at the lowest cost . We call on the new government to sensibly look at options that can make an immediate and cost-effective impact such as a diesel scrappage scheme and government support for LPG. This support would include removing the fuel duty escalator on LPG, support for engine conversations and the promotion of LPG at national and local level for public sector fleets. LPG is cleaner and cheaper than diesel and petrol, the infrastructure is already in place and with the right level of support, more drivers can be encouraged to make the switch. This needn’t contradict current policy to support electric vehicles, but if progress on air quality is to be made quickly, a transitional and cost-effective pathway to zero-emission vehicles must be adopted”.
Automotive LPG has been in wide use for UK drivers since before 2000. To date around 150,000 drivers benefit from using this cleaner and affordable fuel from 1,400 refuelling sites across the UK. There is potential to increase the shift from petrol and diesel to LPG as the infrastructure is already in place and can be expanded at no cost to the taxpayer if demand can be further incentivised
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