HGVs entering London’s ULEZ that do not meet Euro VI – the lorry standard since 2014 – will be fined £100 per day to deliver goods in London.
While supporting the need to improve air quality the Association has concerns that the current approach fails to deal with the issue appropriately and harms business in the capital.
Trucks play a vital part in maintaining London’s economy providing everyone with the goods they need every day. 131 million tonnes each year (approximately 430 thousand tonnes per working day) are carried on the capital’s roads. Without trucks, London simply would not function.
The haulage industry has embraced cleaner vehicles with emissions from truck halving in the last four years.
It’s some of London’s own policies which have prevented further improvement in air quality, in particular, the TfL policy to use congestion to drive vehicles off the road.
London’s traffic congestion problem is getting worse despite falling volumes of traffic. Traffic delays are up by 18 percent since 2015; over the last 20 years, traffic has fallen by seven percent.
Commenting, RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett said: “London’s road network needs to be managed better. We need to focus on dealing with the massive impact of congestion on local NOx emissions. The haulage sector has done its bit with NOx from HGVs halving over recent years.
“Emissions will continue to fall as new, cleaner Euro VI HGVs naturally replace older vehicles. “London has taken a simplistic anti-motorist approach. The Mayor has failed to understand vehicle life cycles and has failed to allow sufficient time for businesses, in particular, small businesses to adjust.
“The prospect of having to pay an extra £100 per day will mean financial ruin for many operators. Their only alternative will be to stop servicing the capital altogether.
“We also face TfL’s plans for a central London zero-emission zone from 2025, which will simply act as a big disincentive for operators to invest in clean Euro VI lorries in the short term. Trucks last around 12 years: demanding new ones and then demanding they are replaced again in five years will be bad for the economy and the people of London.”
“The current Low Emission Zone covers the whole of London - the Ultra-Low Emission Zone that comes into effect on Monday 8 April covers the area where the current congestion charge is in effect. The big crunch for hauliers will come next year when the ULEZ standards are extended for all lorries across all London.
“This all comes on top of the prospect of new clean Euro VI lorries being 22 percent more expensive as a result of planned tariffs under current government Brexit plans.”
The consequences for TfL of ignoring this will be more congestion from vans and higher costs for consumers.
Concluding, Richard Burnett said: “We all want cleaner air – and it’s already happening. But London’s clean air policies are making it harder for operators to upgrade their fleets to Euro VI because the cost of change is much higher.”