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DPD calls for urgent action on electric vehicles

06 November 2019
A DPD electric Paxter vehicle in London
A DPD electric Paxter vehicle in London


Vehicle manufacturers, energy providers, national and local government need to start working together now to reduce emissions and congestion for the benefit of current and future generations, the UK chief executive of parcels carrier DPD has said.

Dwain McDonald has launched a ‘white paper’ called Delivering a Zero-Emission Future which sets out an eight-point plan to accelerate the pace of change, including manufacturers making more right-hand drive electric vehicles (EVs) available in the UK and consistency across clean air, Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) and zero emission zone standards. Additionally, the White Paper calls for new regulation to ensure the safe and responsible operation of e-cargo bikes.

“DPD is determined to contribute to a greener future for the UK through the widespread deployment of electric vehicles,” said Dwain McDonald. “Our vision is to be the nation's cleanest, quietest and safest emissions-free parcel delivery company. We call on manufacturers plus local and national government to partner with us to help make this vision a reality. 

“The decarbonisation of transport fleets is challenging, both operationally and financially. DPD has already made large financial commitments to purchase commercial electric vehicles and change operating models to help reduce emissions and congestion for the benefit of the society we live in. But it isn't happening fast enough, so we need to remove the barriers that are slowing the pace of change.  We want to invest but we can't get the vehicles we need fast enough, while warehousing and distribution space is being pushed out of our city centres and there is limited financial support for new and innovation green vehicles. 

“We cannot do this alone. We need stakeholders from across a range of industries to work together in a holistic way to create an infrastructure that makes large scale EV deployment feasible. Change is difficult and demanding, but emerging new technologies give the current generation of leaders and decision-makers the tools to lead a large-scale cultural change - we cannot kick this problem any further down the road." 

DPD has been scaling up its EV investment programme, saying will grow its current fleet of 139 vehicles to 500 by the end of 2020.  

Delivering a Zero-Emission Future shares the lessons learned to-date from DPD's innovative approach and the challenges faced, as well as sharing his own thoughts on the future. The paper focuses on the following eight key action points:

National government

  • DPD calls for a cohesive industry discussion with the DfT to establish appropriate regulation and best practice guidance to ensure the safe and responsible operation of e-cargo bikes.
  • DPD calls on the government to streamline and remove bureaucracy from the registration process of alternative fuel new to market vehicles to improve fleet uptake.
  • DPD calls on OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) to open the plug-in grant schemes to a wider range of vehicles, increasing its flexibility and support for organisations like DPD who are seeking methods to support delivery of the Road to Zero strategy.
  • Policy-makers must ensure that policy reflects the current technology available and does not regulate in a way that is undeliverable because of the speed of manufacturer vehicle development.

Local government

  • Local authorities, London boroughs, TfL and other key stakeholders should engage final mile operators to help establish micro-depots.
  • Policy-makers must make clean air, ULEV and zero emission zone standards consistent and not create local policies that create uncertainty and unnecessary challenges for operators.


  • Increase the supply of economically viable right-hand drive 3.5t tonne electric vehicles to the UK market. 
  • Continue to support innovations that will help enable the government's Road to Zero vision.
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Oxfordshire County Council
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Oxfordshire County Council
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Oxfordshire County Council
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