The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has expressed “dismay” following confirmation that the London ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) will be extended to cover the whole of Greater London for trucks in October 2020. Vans and cars in inner London will come into scope the following year.
“While some large logistics operators will have mostly compliant fleets, the real losers here will be small companies reliant on their lorries or vans,” said FTA’s head of UK policy, Christopher Snelling.
“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 earlier than they would have.”
FTA said it had calculated that, for a typical small firm running five vehicles, the additional cost of compliance in 2020 or 2021 would amount to more than 40 per cent of annual turnover, thereby risking the company’s business model.
“We all fully support the need to clean our air – after all, our members live in cities too,” Snelling continued.
“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.”
FTA said it would continue to argue for “limited sunset clauses” for operators that were based inside the expanded zone but who needed more time to meet requirements.