Trucks using a UK-first gas filling station emitted 84 per cent less carbon dioxide (CO2) than equivalent diesel vehicles, according to a new study.

UK gas network Cadent 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 said the report provides evidence compressed natural gas (CNG), ideally taken from high-pressure pipes, should be the fuel of choice for HGVs in the future.

It said a strategic switch from diesel to market-ready gas could have a “significant and immediate impact” on the government’s commitment to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, and support the drive for cleaner air.

HGVs account for 15 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions from UK transport and four per cent of total UK emissions.

The study found 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).

The station in Leyland 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.

Justin Laney, general manager of transport at John Lewis Partnership (which incorporates Waitrose), said: “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.”