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FSDF welcomes Defra's Clean Air Strategy red diesel stance

Industry body welcomes final Defra Clean Air Strategy report that recognises current challenges to switching from gas oil to cleaner technologies for refrigerated vehicles

The Food Storage and Distribution Federation (FSDF) has welcomed recognition within the government’s Clean Air Strategy of the potential business impact and challenges from an outright ban on red diesel use for refrigerated vehicles.

A statement from the organisation noted Whitehall had held a consultation last year around ending any use of red diesel for non-agricultural or domestic use in order to tackle dangerous emissions that negatively impact air quality.

After lobbying government against an outright ban, the FSDF said the final strategy document noted that concerns were raised about moving to replace using red diesel in refrigerated transport where cleaner alternatives “are not yet realistically available.”

The FSDF noted that “concrete” policy solutions of how the government would seek to meet the aims of the Clean Air Strategy were expected in spring this year.

The strategy document, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), details broad aims intended to realise international targets for curbing the output of five pollutants. These include fine particulate matter (PM); ammonia; nitrogen oxides; sulphur dioxide and non-methane VOCs.

Specific goals are set out in the document to curb major sources of particulate matter pollution with new England-wide powers.

Another key new element is the creation of new local powers for local authorities to take action in areas with air pollution problems and the complimentary creation of clean air zones, backed up with ‘clear enforcement mechanisms.’

Defra noted in the strategy document that it had jointly published a call for evidence into use of red diesel and whether an ongoing reliance discouraged finding cleaner alternatives.

The document said, “In several sectors (for example transport refrigeration, construction machinery, airport ground equipment) lower emission machinery is becoming available, but we are aware that it may not suit all applications, and that other sectors do not yet have viable alternatives to machinery with diesel engines.”

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