RHA to Minister: Collaboration on Clean Air Zones is Essential

RHA to Minister: Collaboration on Clean Air Zones is Essential

07 Feb 2024 Posted By Joe Scotting

RHA representatives have told a government minister that collaboration with the commercial vehicle industry is essential to meet net zero.

In a wide-ranging meeting with Under Secretary of State for Transport Anthony Browne MP, RHA Managing Director Richard Smith and Policy Lead for Environment and Vehicles Chris Ashley emphasised the importance of transparency and collaboration in successful Net Zero outcomes.

This comes a year after Newcastle introduced its own CAZ. According to a report by ITV Newcastle City Council has collected £2 million in tolls and fines over the last 12 months. However, no official data assessing how successful the CAZ has been released by authorities.

The RHA estimates that NOx from HGVs has been slashed by around 70 percent since 2013, owing largely to the introduction of cleaner Euro VI trucks onto the UK’s roads in the last decade. 

Chris Ashley said ‘We support moves to improve air quality and our industry is committed to making Net Zero work. But this must be done collaboratively and transparently so operators can plan effectively.

‘The commercial vehicle sector needs more assurances and proof Clean Air Zones have reduced emissions in the intended manner. If there’s no empirical proof of NOx being reduced by targeting commercial vehicles, then why are businesses receiving fines when we could be exploring other options to improve air quality? When CAZs meet their objective of reducing NOx pollution, we are clear that they must be discontinued.

‘For Net Zero to work, we need to learn from the CAZ experience to develop effective ways to incentivise change for our industry. A lot of change will occur naturally as consumers rightly demand that goods are transported in an environmentally friendly way.

‘We look to government to help nurture that change by implementing policies that clear the way forward for our industry to invest. An effective planning system will be one policy, speeding up connections to the electricity grid will be another, and ensuring that vehicle weight regulations accommodate increased weight from batteries will be yet another.

‘By working together, we can address these and the other issues to come to ensure a successful transition is achieved.'

Join the conversation online with #NetZeroForum. You can read more about how the RHA is decarbonising the future of commercial transport HERE.

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