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Midlands Connect: low emission freight case study

Cenex and Atkins have together produced a series of low emission freight reports for Sub-national Transport Body Midlands Connect.

The reports, which are yet to be published, will guide Midlands Connect’s transport strategy planning and resource allocation in order to boost economic growth and contribute to the delivery of the Midlands Engine vision.

“Freight and logistics play a key role in servicing the needs of the Midlands region,” said Fergus Worthy, Senior Transport Consultant at Cenex.

“The Midlands is well positioned to accelerate deployment of low emission freight vehicles, and ensure the region benefits from this transition through positive economic and environmental outcomes.”

“These reports, produced by Cenex and Atkins for Midlands Connect, provides the strategic baseline to support this work.”

The decarbonisation of road freight presents one of the biggest challenges within the transport industry.

In a scenario where the future needs for freight and logistics are not managed efficiently, business will be stifled, construction would slow, air quality would worsen and the cost of congestion and damage to infrastructure would be unsustainable.

Midlands Connect – a partnership of councils, LEPs and chambers of commerce – is funded by Government and commissioned Atkins and Cenex to research the challenges and opportunities associated with alternative fuels for road freight and assess how these might impact the Midlands.

Simon Statham, Midlands Connect head of technical programmes, said:

“Decarbonising the transport network is one of our main objectives as we refresh our strategy and focus on responding to the climate emergency.

“This important research sets out an action plan that brings together government, the freight industry, energy suppliers, vehicle manufacturers, local authorities and academia to create the right conditions for the switch to low or zero emission alternative fuels.”

The reports investigate the use of alternative fuels for freight and logistics to develop a regional action plan that will ensure government’s strategic polices are being consistently delivered across the region and work towards the nationally set goals.

They will aid Midlands Connect to understand how it can create the right conditions regionally, balancing the effective distribution of freight and logistics with the environment, in order help take a strategic view on the use of alternative fuels.

To compile the reports, Cenex first completed a baseline assessment of freight and logistics vehicles currently operating in the Midlands, and the availability of recharging and refuelling infrastructure, and forecast future trends for vehicle uptake across different vehicle types, duty cycles, fuels and technologies as well as the recharging and refuelling infrastructure requirements for freight across the region.

Using this information, Cenex then worked with Atkins to develop a prioritised action plan for Midlands Connect and produced a series of reports to guide their strategy planning and resource allocation.