FTA says London's new emissions restrictions place smaller transport businesses in jeopardy

 

The FTA has criticised plans to tighten London’s emissions standards further, stating small haulage and delivery firms will be hit hardest by the decision.

The warning came after it was confirmed last week that older HGVs will face fines of up to £300 to enter the Greater London area from 26 October 2020.

Following consultation, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan has announced he is to tighten the emissions requirement for the existing London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) from Euro-4 to Euro-6 for vehicles over 3.5-tonnes.

This will see Euro-4 and Euro-5 trucks paying a daily fee of £100 to enter the existing LEZ area, and Euro-3 and older paying £300.

The mayor is also extending the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) area up to the North and South Circular roads from 25 October 2021, following its initial central London rollout on 8 April 2019.

While the ULEZ expansion will not affect HGVs, which will already be covered by extended LEZ regulations, it will require cars and vans to be Euro-4 petrol or Euro-6 diesel or pay a £12.50 daily charge.

Both schemes will operate 24 hours, all-year round and be in addition to the current Congestion Charge.

The new ULEZ will cover an area 18 times larger than the existing central London zone.

An estimate of 35,000 vans and 3,000 lorries has been given by the mayor’s office for those that might be affected by the new plans.

Christopher Snelling, FTA’s head of UK policy, said: “While some large logistics operators will have mostly compliant fleets, the real losers here will be small companies reliant on their lorries or vans. 

“Small firms tend to buy second-hand so will have older vehicles that do not reach the latest emissions standards, and will really struggle to raise the loans they will need to buy compliant vehicles a few years early then they would have.”

The FTA has calculated that, for a typical small firm with five lorries or five vans, the extra cost of compliance in 2020 or 2021 will amount to more than 40% of their annual turnover – putting the business model of the company at risk.

Snelling added: “We all fully support the need to clean our air – after all, our members live in cities too. This is why FTA has been positively engaged in the compulsory deployment of the Euro standards regulations for our vehicles since the 1990s.  But the reality is the ULEZ is not a transformative measure – it only brings forward the air quality gain that was coming anyway by a few years, at a cost to the livelihoods of many small businesses in London.”