Mayors: Ban old trucks

Local mayors want to see spanking new trucks like this hydrogen-powered beauty from Nikola Corp plying Freo’s port. Next week: How realistic is a hydrogen fleet for Perth?

THE mayors of Fremantle, Melville and East Fremantle want old trucks banned from their roads.

As part of a joint campaign to crack down on pollution, congestion and noise, the three mayors have called for an accreditation system at the Fremantle Port that would encourage newer, cleaner trucks and eventually lead to old clunkers being stopped altogether.

They also want to limit truck movements during peak hour and have traffic lights on Leach Highway co-ordinated so trucks get more green on their way through.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt told the Herald the trio had been discussing the initiative for some time.

“There are plenty of examples around Australia and the world where this has happened to great effect,” Dr Pettitt said.

Incentives

A key focus would be providing financial incentives for freight operators to upgrade their trucks to meet Euro 6 emission standards.  

Truck Industry Council CEO Anthony McMullan says while newer trucks are cleaner, quieter and safer than older models, it’s been difficult getting the industry interested.

“The reality is that the take-up rate by operators of these more advanced trucks in Australia is poor, thus significantly limiting the positive outcomes that could be achieved by these modern technologies.”  

The mayors’ initiative was inspired by the Los Angeles San Pedro Bay Port, which has reduced truck-related diesel  emissions by 96 percent since 2006.

Dr Pettitt met his LA counterpart on a previous overseas trip and said many ports around Europe have adopted San Pedro’ Bay’s “world leading” plan.

“There is no reason why Australia can’t go down this route,” he said.

“Trucks that are quieter, cleaner, more efficient and can carry full loads, would enable a more efficient utilisation of the road network, delivering improved operating efficiencies and reducing impact on local residents and the environment.” 

He would ultimately like to see a fleet of electric and hydrogen-powered trucks serving the port in the future, saying the technology will be “on our doorstep quicker than we think”. 

One of the short-term goals in last year’s WA Renewable Hydrogen Strategy is for “a refuelling facility for hydrogen vehicles available in Western Australia,” by 2022.

According to a 2018 Climate Council Report, “an estimated 1,700 deaths occur every year as a result of air pollution from cars, trucks and buses”.

“That is something we should be taking seriously,” Dr Pettitt said. 

The same report revealed WA’s annual emissions in the transport sector were the highest of all the other states and territories in the country, with 14.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas produced each year.

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