Call for clarity over freight emissions charges

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Carbon dioxide, Fta

Food and drink processors remain in the dark over how the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme will affect distribution, with the...

Food and drink processors remain in the dark over how the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme will affect distribution, with the initiative due to be introduced in less than three months.

The cap and trade scheme will take effect at the beginning of April and will encompass all organisations that consume 6,000MWh of electricity or more using half-hourly measured meters. These businesses will be charged a levy for the greenhouse gases (GHG) they emit in a bid to cut emissions.
However, the majority of GHG emissions for hauliers occur as a result of fuel usage rather than energy usage. Consequently, how they will be charged for emissions is unclear, particularly since there is no definitive measurement of the quantity of emissions produced in this way.
“The issue is being grasped vigorously by the Department for Transport, which has formed a low carbon transportation steering group,” said Chris Sturman, chief executive of the Food Storage and Distribution Federation. “We, along with the Freight Transport Association (FTA), [grocery think tank] the IGD, the Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics, the Road Haulage Association and other associations are involved in developing a carbon recording process.”
The issue was complicated by the fact that many manufacturers received ingredients from overseas and used third-party logistics providers, said Sturman. Consequently, working out whose responsibility it was to measure emissions and who owned them was difficult.
Meetings between trade bodies, processors and distributors are taking place over the next three months to determine a reliable measure for GHG emissions in the distribution process.
FTA communications director Jo Tanner said: “FTA is committed to carbon reduction within the logistics sector and will be announcing its own strategy in the near future.”
A spokesman for the organisation directed hauliers and processors to its Carbonfta guidance for help on managing GHG emissions in the freight industry. He added: “Our big concern is that political parties will use fuel duty as the main means [to encourage GHG emissions reduction among hauliers].” The FTA fears this would weaken hauliers’ ability to invest in technology that would reduce emissions.”
Referring to current thinking on emissions trading, Andrew Moreton, an account manager for pallet pooling firm Chep, said: “For us it’s to do with power, but for the hauliers, I’m not sure how it will affect them.”

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