New regulations will allow farmers to use hydrogen-powered tractors on British roads

Hydrogen tractors have a future on British farms

Hydrogen tractors have a future on British farms

Tractors, diggers and forklifts powered by hydrogen will help agricultural businesses go greener, according to plans set out by the government this week.

A switch to cleaner technology will allow the farming and construction industries, which are highlighted as two key parts of the economy, to decarbonise faster, the government said.

New regulations, set out in a consultation launched this week, would allow hydrogen-powered tractors, diggers and forklifts to be used on roads in Great Britain. The consultation will run for four weeks, closing on 24 April 2024.

Technology and decarbonisation minister Anthony Browne said: “Allowing hydrogen-powered tractors, diggers and forklifts to use our roads is a common-sense move to help reduce emissions. These proposals are an important part of our plan to decarbonise transport in the UK, with skilled jobs in British companies helping roll out this cutting-edge hydrogen technology, making it more affordable and commonplace.

“Hydrogen-powered construction and farming vehicles can improve the sustainability of the sector by reducing emissions from the tailpipe.”

The launch of the consultation comes after the government issued construction equipment manufacturer JCB with a vehicle special order last year, giving the company permission to test its hydrogen-powered diggers on UK roads.

“Today’s proposals will expand this permission permanently across the sector, meaning manufacturers can more easily scale up production of sustainable equipment where battery electric power is not practical,” Browne added.

“Alongside electric, hydrogen is one of many sustainable fuel sources that could accelerate decarbonisation. Projects such as the government-funded Tees Valley Hydrogen Hub are showing how green hydrogen can be utilised across the transport sector, creating jobs and apprenticeships in the region and boosting the economy.”