Mayor hits hauliers with air pollution challenges

Newly-elected London mayor Sadiq Khan has dealt freight operators a triple whammy of tough air quality proposals for entering the capital, one week after taking up his position at City Hall.

A pending consultation will include a series of measures to drive down harmful emissions from road transport across the capital.

These include extendingthe Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North and South Circular roads beyond its previously proposed reach within the Congestion Charging zone, as well as bringing forward its roll-out to before 2020.

This will mean all vans and trucks will need to be Euro-6 to avoid paying a daily charge of £100 for HGVs and £12.50 for vans to enter the ULEZ.

From 2020, these same standards will also apply to HGVs across Greater London.

Khan also proposes an extra charge on the most polluting vehicles entering central London using the Congestion Charge payment and enforcement system from 2017, although no details have been released as to the measure for this yet.

The FTA has slammed the proposals, saying they would add substantial cost to London businesses and may even put some smaller firms at risk of closure.

FTA head of national and regional policy Christopher Snelling said: “Freight operators and the service industry could find themselves being charged extra for their vehicles before they have had any reasonable chance to upgrade.”

He added that the tipping point where such regulations become less problematic is about eight years after the latest Euro standard has been introduced and between one-third and half of the fleet is compliant and a buoyant secondhand market has developed. However, for trucks, Euro-6 only came in less than three years ago, and for large vans it does not start until September this year.

Snelling added: “If we are to avoid increasing costs for consumers, businesses will need significant financial help to adopt these standards this early. It is imperative that the mayor looks at carrots as well as sticks.”

BVRLA echoed the FTA’s concerns over the new ULEZ timetable, which could punish a large number of companies that have already made fleet plans based on the original 2020 roll-out date.