In November 2017 the Government asked the National Infrastructure Commission to conduct a new study on the future of freight, the terms of reference for which are here.
The Commission’s study reviewed options to improve the existing infrastructure and recommended ways to use new technologies and processes to transform how freight moves by road and rail, in towns and cities, cross-country and into and out of ports and airports. A Call for Evidence was issued in January 2018 and an interim report was published on 21 December 2018.
The final report – Better Delivery: the challenge for freight – was published on 17 April 2019. It highlighted that action is needed to enable the UK’s freight networks to meet growing demands for fast deliveries while also reducing its impact on congestion and the environment. It recommended government should set out within two years plans to ban all sales of new petrol and diesel HGVs by 2040 and take steps to prepare the nation’s infrastructure for the transition to cleaner vehicles powered by new fuels such as battery electric or hydrogen power.
In response to worsening congestion, city planning authorities should ensure freight is part of their long term infrastructure strategies alongside transport, homes and jobs; new data standards will help to encourage low-congestion freight practices and properly embed freight into development plans and city infrastructure planning. In addition, a new Freight Leadership Council should encourage more collaboration between and within government and the freight sector to tackle these long term challenges.