Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Clean Air Zone Comes Under Fire as Freight Vehicles Targeted in New Scheme

Consultation Gives Hauliers a Chance to Speak Out
Shipping News Feature

UK – Another Clean Air Zone (CAZ) has come under fire from the Freight Transport Association (FTA), this time in Newcastle. Any bus, HGV, taxi, minibus, van, or private hire vehicle entering the proposed Zone which does not meet the highest environmental standards, Euro VI or 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol vehicles, will receive a charge once the scheme comes into force in 2021.

Newcastle City Council is apparently launching a public consultation into its updated plans within days according to the FTA which is calling on businesses to have their say once more. Margaret Simpson, Head of Policy for Scotland & Northern England at FTA said whilst the freight outfit is fully committed to improving the city’s air quality, it is unfair to place this burden solely on the shoulders of local businesses and vehicle operators. She continued:

”The logistics sector is the lifeblood of the city, providing businesses, schools and hospitals with the goods they need to operate. CAZs do not provide any lasting benefit to air quality, as the Euro VI/6 vehicles required to enter a zone without charge will come into fleets of their own accord, as part of the natural fleet replacement cycle. In fact, by the start of 2021.

”The FTA estimates that more than half of the UK truck fleet will already be Euro VI, meaning the scheme will soon be redundant. In the view of FTA, to secure long-term air quality improvements Newcastle City Council would be better placed to focus its resources on incentivising the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles.

“We are, however, pleased to see in the new plans that the geographical area has been significantly reduced, this will limit its impact on businesses operating in the area. We are calling on anyone who will be affected by the Zone to submit their response to the updated plans; do not miss this chance to have your say.”

The first consultation received 19,000 responses and full details of proposed charges can be seen here.