Huge drop in CO2 emissions from HGVs using UK-first gas fuel station

Study reveals 84% drop in carbon dioxide emissions from lorries using the UK’s first gas filling station connected to a high-pressure pipeline
  • Cadent, the UK’s biggest gas network, says this is evidence that gas can be the fuel of choice for HGVs, and supports ‘clean air’ policies
  • Compressed natural gas dispensed at the Lancashire station is 100% renewable, fuelling HGVs for big companies, including Waitrose
    Lorries using a UK-first gas filling station emitted 84 per cent less carbon dioxide (CO2) than equivalent diesel vehicles, reveals a study released today.
    Cadent, the UK’s biggest gas network, commissioned independent analysis of the first 14 months of the station, operated by CNG Fuels, at Leyland, Lancashire, the first on the high-pressure gas network. Its customers include trucks from supermarket Waitrose.
    Cadent says this report provides evidence that compressed natural gas (CNG), ideally taken from high-pressure pipes, should be the fuel of choice for HGVs in the future.

    A strategic switch from diesel to market-ready gas can have a significant and immediate impact on UK Government’s stated commitment to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, and support the drive for cleaner air, said Cadent. HGVs account for 15 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions from UK transport and four per cent of total UK emissions.
    The study found that even if the gas was not from renewable sources, derived instead completely from fossil fuel, the ‘well-to-wheel’ emission saving from CNG dispensed from the high-pressure system would still be as high as 15 per cent.
    Cadent partnered with CNG Fuels to construct the UK’s first facility to compress gas taken direct from the high-pressure system, close to the M6, at Leyland. It opened in March 2016, with retailer Waitrose as its anchor customer. Since September 2016, it has dispensed 100 per cent renewable gas (biomethane).
    David Parkin, director for network strategy at Cadent, said: “This report proves there are significant environmental and economic benefits not just in using compressed natural gas, but in dispensing it from the high-pressure system. This is a credible option, available today, and our high pressure network is ideally situated to support its growth, as in most cases our pipeline tracks the UK’s major motorways.
    “We hope now that leaders in the transport sector, central and local government will realise the potential that exists here, investing and removing any barriers to growth to make CNG the fuel of choice for HGVs, and we think buses too.
    “Gas is a practical and affordable option for decarbonising heavy goods vehicle transport and lowering emissions. Biomethane CNG is a green fuel, and with up to 99 per cent reduction in emissions of nitrogen oxides, it can help clean air in our towns and cities, as well as reducing transport’s current high level of carbon emissions.”
    Key findings from the report, produced by Element Energy Ltd, were:
    • Dedicated gas vehicles refuelling on 100 per cent biomethane at Leyland emitted 84 per cent less CO2 well-to-wheel than equivalent diesel vehicles.
    • Dedicated gas vehicles refuelling on fossil CNG at a station on the high-pressure network would emit 15 per cent less CO2 ‘well-to-wheel’ than equivalent diesel vehicles.
    • Station specific emissions at Leyland (related to station operation, such as electricity use) were 79 per cent lower than stations using gas from lower pressure pipes.
    • Well-to-wheel emissions savings from Leyland’s high-pressure station were six per cent greater than those connected to medium-pressure networks.
    • Payback for investors comes in 6.3 years, which is two years less than medium pressure stations, which have higher upfront and operating costs.
    The station in Leyland, a few hundred metres from junction 28 of the M6, has capacity to serve up to 600 dedicated HGVs. Its gas is certified as 100 per cent renewable, qualifying for Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates, as CNG Fuels pays for the equivalent amount of gas to be produced through a process which recycles food waste into grid-quality biomethane.
    Waitrose’s dedicated CNG lorries which fuel up at the site have a range of up to 500 miles on a full tank, travelling across the Midlands and northern England.
    Philip Fjeld, chief executive officer of CNG Fuels, said: “Biomethane CNG is 35 to 40 per cent cheaper than diesel and attracting growing interest from fleet operators, bus companies and refuse collectors, who want to cut costs and reduce their carbon emissions. CNG stations can be built quickly and cost-effectively and we are developing a nationwide network to meet industry demand.”
    Justin Laney, general manager of transport at John Lewis Partnership (which incorporates Waitrose), said: “Our business is committed to helping the environment and biomethane delivers significant green benefits. As well as being quieter, every long-distance lorry we switch from diesel to gas saves as much CO2 as taking 70 cars off the road. This is why we plan to switch more of our trucks to biomethane in the future.”


Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

Future of Gas: Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

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