Road transport industry trade associations have reacted with concern to confirmation of the Mayor of London’s plans to introduce the new ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) in the capital 17 months earlier than originally intended.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) said it was “outraged” at the news that the ULEZ would begin on 8 April 2019, which chief executive Richard Burnett said “flies in the face of common sense”.
“Since the early introduction of the ULEZ was first proposed we have pushed hard for a phased approach that will improve air quality and maintain the economy of London,” he said.
“We are concerned that the ULEZ charge will cost many hauliers £100 per day, and that’s in addition to the other charges they already pay. More than half the GB lorry fleet will not be Euro 6 when the ULEZ is introduced.”
Mr Burnett continued: “The acquisition of new vehicles has been planned on the previous mayor’s original dates. Lorries last about 12 years; to announce a 17 months early adoption of the scheme is not giving operators sufficient time to phase out older vehicles and replace them with Euro 6…
“Hauliers and the people and businesses of London should not be penalised by this retrospective regulation that is little more than a tax grab by the Mayor.”
Meanwhile the Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) head of policy for the capital, Natalie Chapman, said that the mayor had: “failed to take into account the time needed for businesses to comply with these new regulations, without incurring significant costs that could put real strain on overheads and business security…
“In addition, by April 2019 there will only be two and a half years’ production of vans available for operators to purchase, with little or no compliant second-hand market which will put pressure on operators already working to fragile margins.”
The ULEZ will operate 24/7 in the same area of central London as the current congestion charging zone (CCZ), but TfL will also be consulting on extending it to the north and south circular roads for light vehicles in 2021, and London-wide for lorries, buses and coaches in 2020.
TfL says that it expects road transport emissions in central London to reduce by an additional 20 per cent in 2019 as a result of the early launch, including reductions in HGV NOx emissions of nearly 50 per cent.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London’s lethal air is one of the biggest health challenges of this generation. We can’t continue breathing in air so toxic it harms children’s lung development and causes chronic illness and premature death.”
More information is on TfL’s website here.