Dear HVTT Forum community,
This is somewhat of a first in HVTT Forum history: a monthly newsletter from the Information Officer! This was an idea which came out of discussions following HVTT17, and which I hope will be helpful in keeping the community informed of our ongoing digital activities. In keeping with HVTT newsletter conventions, I will include a few regional updates from the UK and, of course, a note on the weather.
HVTT17 papers and photos
First, I am very pleased to announce that all papers presented at HVTT17 in Brisbane are now available for download on our website here. The search box lets you quickly filter by first author, paper title, or session number. For more advanced searching our website-wide search function is always available which will search through all material including paper contents and the newsletter archive. (This is accessed via the magnifying glass icon on the far right of the site’s menu bar.) Professional photos from the symposium are also available on the website here.
New board members
As mentioned in the previous newsletter, the new HVTT Forum board was confirmed at HVTT17. The website has now been updated accordingly and you can read about our current board members and office holders here. Congratulations to all those that were re-elected or newly-appointed!
Other Information Officer updates
My job primarily involves managing our digital presence and communication channels. Let me take this opportunity to update you on the four main mechanisms through which we engage with the wider HVTT community: the website, mailing list, LinkedIn page, and monthly newsletters.
The website is our primary information store, and includes an archive of all symposium papers and monthly newsletters, while maintaining up-to-date information about the forum, including its board members, constitution and upcoming conferences. It underwent a major overhaul in 2019/2020, and is kept up-to-date by the Information Officer. (If you spot any errors, please let me know!)
The mailing list is the forum’s largest and longest-running communication channel which is used for monthly newsletters and important announcements and updates of interest to the community. Our subscriber base spans 40 countries over six continents, with our largest contingents in South Africa, UK, Australia, Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand. New subscribers can join via the link on our website, via the JiscMail page, or by emailing me directly.
The LinkedIn page is our fastest growing communication platform, and is best suited for two-way communication and engagement with our community. The page has grown steadily since its launch in 2020 launch, hitting a milestone of 500 followers earlier this year. If you don’t already follow and engage on our LinkedIn page, please do so!
Finally, our newsletters continue to be shared monthly on all channels, and an archive of these is available on the website here (also accessible via the “Library” item on the menu bar). These are penned on a rolling basis by our President and Vice Presidents, and I take my hat off to them having now experienced the effort that goes into writing one…
Road freight in the UK
Transport is the UK’s biggest emitting sector, contributing 26% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. (The next highest sector is energy generation, at 20%.) Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) account for nearly a quarter of all road emissions. The UK government has been fairly ambitious in its setting phase out dates for the sale of new, non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles: 2035 for those at 26 tonnes or below, and 2040 for HGVs of any gross mass. While the government recently back-pedalled on its phase-out dates for petrol and diesel passenger vehicles, setting it back by 5 years, no such changes to the HGV phase-out dates are expected.
In line with the UK’s decarbonisation plans, several initiatives supporting electric HGVs and related charging infrastructure have been launched in the last few years. One of the first large-scale deployments of electric HGVS in the UK was launched in April 2022 as part of the Battery Electric Truck Trial (BETT). This 18-month £10 million project was funded by the Department for Transport (DfT), and involved 20 19-tonne DAF rigid HGVs.
In late 2023, the government announced projects funded by the Zero Emission Road Freight Demonstrator programme, in which the government is supporting a 5-year trial of up to 370 zero emission HGVs (including battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles) and around 57 refuelling and electric-charging sites. These include the eFREIGHT 2030 project, Project Electric Freightway, Project Zero Emission North (ZEN) Freight, and the Hydrogen Aggregated Logistics (HyHAUL) project.
While the government has shown some interest in electric road systems (dynamic charging), through funding initial feasibility studies in 2021, follow-on plans have not yet been forthcoming.
As for high-capacity vehicle initiatives, a key area of interest to the HVTT Forum community, the UK is a long way behind many of its European neighbours… However, in May 2023 the UK government approved the use of longer semi-trailers after a 10 year trial. This permits an additional 2.050 meters length to the standard 13.6-meter semi-trailer, allowing an additional four pallets to be carried in a single load. Route planning and risk assessments are required.
2023 was the UK’s second hottest year in recorded history; the number one position is currently held by 2022. All the while extreme weather events occur in increasing frequency: the 2023-24 named storm season (starting in September 2023) has been off to its most active start since the Met Office first launched its storm naming in 2015, with 10 named storms so far with wind speeds of up to 100 mph. While we experienced freezing temperatures in January with parts of Scotland reaching -15C, we now have a relatively mild start to February with highs in the low teens in the south of England. Early hints of Spring are starting to appear with the emergence of a few snowdrops and crocuses.
All the best,
Christopher de Saxe
HVTT Forum Information Officer