04 December 2017

Road Haulage Operators Dread Even More Emission Areas for Freight Trucks in London  

New Consultation Proposing Extension of ULEZ Scheme

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Shipping News Feature UK – The Road Haulage Association (RHA) says it is waiting, with some trepidation, for the result of Transport for London's (TfL) impact assessment on the thorny topic of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). The latest consultation was announced last week and contains some contentious plans to extend the scheme with the new standards applicable London wide to buses, coaches and lorries up to the North and South circular roads from 26 October 2020.

The RHA is ‘dismayed’ by the fact that, within 3 weeks of informing the freight industry, a sector responsible for delivering London’s economy in its entireity, that the Ultra Low Emission Zone would be introduced 17 months ahead of schedule, this latest TfL proposal will further damage truck operators. The current Low Emission Zone imposes charges of £200 per day on all lorries that do not meet Euro IV or above. The new proposal will require all HGVs to be Euro VI, those that do not meet that standard will pay an extra £100 per day.

For many hauliers this will mean operating in their normal territories will prove impossible, due to the cost of upgrading to these newer vehicles, the Euro VI standard for 7.5 tonne trucks having only sen the light of day in September 2015. Based on current vehicle fleet structure, operators of Euro V trucks will still be going strong until well after 2020. The Association believes the increase to £300 per day for non-Euro VI is too much too soon, a haulier plans for long term usage when budgeting, particularly if a vehicle principally operates on city based logistic contracts.

The RHA says that additionally there is not a decent scrappage scheme in place to assist affected truck operators and that the Mayor and his plans are simply displacing air quality issues to other cities. RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said:

“This will just tax the haulage sector off the roads in London. The nation’s capital is heavily dependent on road transport operators; they keep London’s shops, restaurants, tourist attractions and of course hospitals stocked. This latest proposal will hit Londoners, and the millions of visitors it attracts every year very hard indeed."

The Mayor recently delivered the first phase of these plans by introducing the new weekday (7am - 6pm Monday - Friday) £10 Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) in central London for the oldest vehicles. This runs alongside and on top of the £11.50 Congestion Charge (C-Charge). From 8 April 2019, the Mayor is then introducing the second phase of his plans (ULEZ, 17 months earlier than planned). It will replace the T-Charge and cover the same central area, alongside and on top of the congestion charge, but it will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The daily charge for non-compliant vehicles will increase from £10 to £12.50 (for cars, vans and motorbikes) and, as stated, £100 for buses, coaches and lorries. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:

”I am determined to take the bold action needed to protect the public from London's poisonous, deadly air. I can't ignore the shameful fact that London's air is so toxic it harms children's lungs, exacerbates chronic illness and contributes to thousands of premature deaths each year. Following the successful introduction of the T-Charge, and confirmation of the central London ULEZ, I am moving ahead with the next stage of my plan to expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone up to the busy north and south circular roads.

”I want Londoners to let me know what they think about my plans to clean up our lethal air. I'm doing everything in my power to turn around air pollution in London but I urgently need the Government to wake up to the scale of the challenge. Instead of blocking London from accessing the new National Clean Air Fund, they should be delivering a diesel scrappage scheme to get the filthiest cars off our roads.

”The Government's own data shows that roughly 40% of the UK's roads exceeding legal pollution limits are located in the capital. Drivers need help switching to cleaner vehicles and greener alternatives and the whole of London needs a government which takes responsibility for this toxic air quality crisis.”

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