Businesses need more support to cope with the financial burden of the compliance with the regulations surrounding London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), according to FTA. With the zone launching on Monday (8th April), FTA, the business organisation representing the interests of the logistics sector, is renewing its calls for Sadiq Khan to recognise the potential flaws in the scheme, particularly the disproportionate costs it will place on London’s business community. According to Natalie Chapman, Head of Urban Policy at FTA, the zone is not the most effective way to improve air quality in the long-term and will impact on the livelihoods of many small businesses in London unless changes are made:
“FTA recognises and supports the need to improve air quality, but we question the effectiveness of the ULEZ in reducing emissions and the lack of financial support available to businesses. Operators and vehicle manufacturers have already led the way with investment in cleaner technologies through developments in engine standards; this has helped to reduce levels of key pollutants more than 20-fold over recent years. The ULEZ is not a transformative measure, as marketed by Sadiq Khan: it simply brings forward the fleet replacement cycle at huge cost to many small businesses and operators of specialist vehicles.”
In December 2018, the Mayor announced a measure to help micro-businesses in London – those with fewer than 10 staff – prepare for the financial cost of updating their vans to those compliant with ULEZ standards. But as Ms Chapman continues, this support does not stretch to those operating HGVs in the capital, to support London’s businesses and keep them trading: “The Mayor’s van scrappage scheme gives welcome support to the capital’s smallest businesses, which will be hardest hit by the ULEZ. But the same level of assistance should be available to all responsible for delivering goods, raw materials and services to London’s business community. It is encouraging that Transport for London is planning to review the uptake of the scrappage scheme in the short term; if funding remains available, FTA believes that businesses of all shapes and sizes should be able to access this support. For example, Leeds City Council is granting businesses up to £16,000 to replace HGVs that do not comply with its Clean Air Zone; FTA would like to see London follow these footsteps.”
Chapman continues: “Since 2014, it has been mandatory for all new trucks to have a Euro 6 specification; based on historical fleet turnover patterns, more than half of the UK’s truck fleet will be Euro 6 by 2021. Within just a few years, the ULEZ will be redundant as the entire fleet will be Euro 6. FTA strongly advises TfL to focus on other strategies that will deliver longer-term benefits such as supporting businesses who can afford to, to invest in electric vehicles through improving charging infrastructure and identifying land for micro-consolidation; removing congestion pinch points from the network; and enabling deliveries to be retimed by encouraging boroughs to review planning restrictions supporting major changes to the Lorry Control Scheme.
“Where London leads, other cities follow: the ULEZ must set the right example for councils across the UK.”
FTA urges vehicle operators who are unsure of their compliance status to use TfL’s online compliance checker, available here https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone/check-your-vehicle
Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.
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