The government has set out a new vision for the future of ‘last-mile’ deliveries, suggesting that a wave of electric cargo bikes, vans, ‘quadricycles’ and micro vehicles could replace vans in UK cities.
Two new consultations offer a glimpse into how the government expects technology to transform the way in which we move goods and services around cities.
According to government statistics, there are now 300,000 HGVs and over 4 million vans on UK roads. Without intervention, this number is likely to increase further as consumers move to online purchasing.
However, a switch to green delivery vehicles could replace millions of conventionally-fuelled vans in city centres to vastly reduce emissions and congestion.
The Last Mile call for evidence consultation seeks feedback on how electrically powered delivery vehicles could outcompete current light commercial vehicles and what incentives might be appropriate to encourage a large-scale shift.
Clean Air Zones
One of the benefits of green delivery vehicles is the opportunity to help businesses mitigate the impact of deliveries in Clean Air Zones, which could soon be commonplace in several towns and cities.
A recent survey of 1,000 SME business executives by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association revealed that 40 per cent were not aware that Clean Air Zones are due to come into force in local authority areas over the next few years.
Leeds, Derby, Nottingham, Southampton and Birmingham have already been mandated to bring in chargeable Clean Air Zones by 2020, with a further 56 local authorities considering what approach to take.
A separate Future of Mobility call for evidence has also been published to seek views on clean transport, self-driving and ‘internet-connected’ vehicles, changing attitudes to travel and shared transport, and even futuristic modes of travel like flying taxis.