Wednesday, May 3, 2017

London Clean Air Scheme Acceleration Presents Major Issue for Road Freight Industry

ULEZ Anti-Pollution Plans Could See Small Haulage Operators Banned From Capital
Shipping News Feature
UK – We have written in the past about the freight industry's concerns over the proposed tightening of emission standards for road haulage vehicles in London with the proposed creation of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in September 2020. Now it seems that the recent highlighting of the issue of London’s terrible air quality has cajoled the city's authorities to contemplate accelerating plans to ban older diesel vehicles from London.

Transport for London (TfL) is asking stakeholders to complete a survey on whether or not plans to introduce the ULEZ should be brought forward to 8 April 2019, around 17 months earlier than the currently approved date of 7 September 2020. The stated aim of this is to reduce overall exposure to air pollution and bring forward the health benefits to Londoners.

However, for members of the freight industry, whose role it is to secure the supply chain and undertake management of the logistics which maintain every aspect of the busy city, the jump forward presents a real issue. The proposed ULEZ will also be tightened so that degrees of vehicular particulate matter (PM) are now featured in calculating overall pollution levels. Only vehicles meeting the very latest Euro VI standard, a qualification only introduced in September 2016, will be exempt from penalty charges of £100 for lorries and £12.50 on smaller freight vehicles per day.

Freight representatives have already reacted with disappointment to the news, with Christopher Snelling, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) Head of National and Regional Policy, saying:

"The Government should be pursing measures that will provide the most health benefit for the least economic disruption. The proposed Clean Air Zones pose a serious risk to the viability of many small businesses based in these zones, and a real risk to jobs and local prosperity."

TfL’s own estimates put the number of HGVs entering London every year at around 188,000, and the Road Haulage Association (RHA) described the potential fines for hauliers as ‘astronomical’. The RHA’s Richard Burnett said:

“Air pollution levels in London have actually been consistently dropping since 1970, and hauliers have continued to do their bit to increase air quality, by 2019, 52% of HGVs entering London will be the ultra-clean Euro 6 model. However, the remaining 48% will not, and will face fines of £100 per day for entering the capital, equating to around two billion pounds in fines per annum.”