Britain’s Road Haulage Association (RHA) is calling on the government to show “coordinated leadership” by creating an evidence-based national decarbonisation roadmap, which takes account of the needs of users and the environment.

Published on 15 April, the call is defined in the RHA’s latest ‘Eliminate, Minimise, Offset’ paper that sets out its vision on how the commercial vehicle sector can achieve net zero emissions.

The cornerstone of the approach is investment in developing vehicle standards to drive down CO2 emissions, supported by stable regulation.

The association notes it is concerned the current political train of thought is “increasingly attuned to knee-jerk and simplistic demonising” of road users that some groups and politicians see as being unpopular or polluting.

“Both the political ambition and technological potential to reduce UK CO2 emissions is clear,” said RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett.

“However, sustainable and predictable implementation is less so and our updated policy paper sets out clear recommendations to steer the next steps.

“It’s unfortunate as the UK recovers from the devastating impact of COVID-19 the political debate is currently unbalanced and threatens to alienate any good-will that exists ‘to do the right thing.’

“Politicians know successful environmental outcomes depend on a healthy, mobile economy that generates the tax revenue needed to invest in lowering emissions. But they must also understand a healthy economy depends on the cost-effective and efficient transportation of people and goods.

“A more inclusive approach to decarbonisation, one that takes account of the need for business to have confidence to invest in new equipment, is essential as the drive to net zero continues.”