Put levy on internet deliveries ‘to cut van pollution’
A Government plan to impose a compulsory charge on internet deliveries may be necessary to cut the increasing toxic emissions into the atmosphere.
That’s the view of Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox after the number of van visits soared as shoppers went online during the lockdown.
“Charging for plastic bags help cut their use drastically, so a similar scheme might make customers more selective, go for more sustainable shopping and consider the true environmental cost,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park.
Delivery vans and other light commercial vans travelled a total of 50.4 billion miles in the UK in the year ending in March this year, a 24 per cent rise in a decade. That was more than four times the average increase for all vehicles.
“The problem is that free and next-day delivery deals has led to many people over-ordering and then sending back clothes they did not then want free of charge,” added Ron.
According to the latest Department for Transport figures the annual nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from vans rose 43 per cent to 99,300 tonnes between 2007 and 2017.
In contrast the total of NOx emissions from all other types of transport, including cars, buses and HGVs fell sharply.
Most of the delivery vans are powered by diesel which worsens the environmental impact. Nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are believed to cause an estimated 40,000 early deaths in the UK annually. The toxic gases are linked to health problems such as strokes, heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory diseases.
During lockdown the air has started to improve in many UK cities with Data from King’s College, London, showing a drop in both NO2 and other damaging particles.
“With the Government’s plan to achieve net zero ambitions by 2050, one of the important ways to help achieve this is by cutting the congestion and vehicle emissions in our towns and cities and building a greener transport network,” said Ron.
“One part of this could be to put a compulsory delivery levy on internet shopping items,” said Ron.
“Another way would be to encourage more of these vans to go electric,” he added.
At present the Department of Transport is providing an £8,000 grant to help offset the cost of a new electric van.
The Department for Transport is considering the recommendations in a report by its scientific advisers, including the mandatory charge, and it may lead to a public consultation.
For advice on all green energy matters and particularly ensuring your home is a healthy place to live by improving the indoor air quality contact Ron on 0845 474 6641.