The Freight Transport Association has reacted with disappointment to revised plans published by London Mayor Sadiq Khan today detailing proposals which could bring forward the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and its expansion. Under the proposals, a London-wide Euro VI requirement for lorries could now be introduced in 2019.
FTA had previously warned that the ULEZ was only ‘do-able’ if the central London area and the 2020 deadline for HGVs stayed the same, and stated that if either were to be altered due to a change of Mayor, it would cause serious difficulties for businesses.
On 5 July the Mayor of London launched a major public consultation on his plans. FTA’s Head of National and Regional Policy Christopher Snelling commented: “We stated before that the central ULEZ starting in 2019 and expanding in 2020 would cause significant issues – especially in the van sector where there will only be two-and-a-half to three years’ worth of compliant vehicles in the fleet. Typically, operators who rely on second-hand vehicles buy at four years old so it will place significant cost burdens on them.”
Now the Mayor has suggested that the expansion to inner London for vans and Greater London for HGVs could happen in 2019. Mr Snelling added: “Bringing this further forward only adds to the cost on small businesses. Those using, or relying on, vans in inner London will now face a situation where there are no second hand vehicles available to purchase.”
FTA estimates that to comply with these proposals will cost the average small operator with five vans more than £100,000 extra up front – more than 150% of the company’s annual turnover. Therefore, this regulation could lock some small businesses out of the London market altogether.
Mr Snelling concluded: “No-one disputes the need to improve air quality. Once again what we do object to is the one-sided nature of these measures – all burden and no support. London could improve air quality more quickly and reduce the burden on businesses at the same time by offering a temporary discount to the Congestion Charge for compliant vehicles prior to the ULEZ starting. The Government has said it has no interest in a scrappage scheme and we see no prospect of that changing.”
It is the concern over the effect on small businesses and need for this support that FTA will be putting forward in its response to the consultation.