Ministers are backing Mayor for London Sadiq Khan’s plan that all lorries entering London will need a permit, issued by Transport for London before they can enter the capital. Ministers have had to apply to the European Commission for approval of the scheme as EU hauliers will also need a permit to enter London.
If the Commission gives the scheme the green light, from October 2020 all HGVs entering London will be assessed against the TfL-devised Direct Vision Standards and must obtain a permit from Transport for London.
Previous advice from TfL claimed that around half of the lorries entering London will need to be fitted with additional equipment such as camera systems, audible turn warnings and side sensors with driver alerts before a permit can be issued.
Fines of £550 will be issued to operators of any lorry entering without a permit, plus a personal fine for the driver of £150.
The first phase is planned to run from October 2020 until 2024 – at which time new standards, yet to be devised, will be mandated by TfL.
Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “This is yet another direct attack by Sadiq Khan, Chris Grayling and Jesse Norman on the very industry on which the entire UK economy relies. We made it clear to TfL and Ministers that it is wholly inappropriate to create local vehicle standards and permit schemes separate from the national and international standards for vehicles.
“The RHA fully supports the continuous improvement in safety standards for lorries and the drive to reduce casualties among all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians. But, locally created vehicle standards are wrong. They lead to ineffective safety measures, a disintegration of cohesive regulation across the sector and an increase in red tape.
“Lorries work nationally. The Mayor’s approach risks the creation of multiple local standards and permit schemes for lorries across the country.”
The RHA is calling on Ministers and the Mayor to work with the industry to support, devise and implement national and international vehicle standards (including the possible retrofit of equipment) based on a full understanding effectiveness of modified design standards.
Under the Mayor’s plan, hauliers will have to contact vehicle manufacturers to get information on the TfL devised “star rating”. However these are not available for all lorries. If the manufacturer cannot advise a “star rating”, the vehicle will automatically be classed by TfL as zero star and will have to be retrofitted with London-mandated equipment.
Concluding, Richard Burnett said: “The entire scheme has been poorly thought through from the start. Ministers should not have approved this application without fully understanding the implications of the scheme and doing a through independent Impact Assessment.
It is simply wrong that Ministers are allowing London to fine drivers who have no control over whether a permit for the lorry they are driving has been issued or not.”