Tuesday 19 January 2021

London charging schemes reinstated

Having suspended the London low emission zone (LEZ), ultra low emission zone, and the congestion charge in response to the coronavirus crisis, Transport for London restored all three on 18 May as traffic levels began to rise again in tandem with the gradual phase-out of lockdown.

However, the imposition of higher standards that would allow only Euro 6 trucks and coaches to enter the LEZ without incurring charges has been postponed from 26 October this year to the end of February next year.

The legislation is still in place, but the higher charges will not be made until the later date. A similar delay is to apply to the Direct Vision Standard for heavy trucks.

The congestion charge will also increase from £10 to £!5 a day, and it will be imposed seven days a week from 7am to 10pm, starting on 22 June.

In a separate move, London Councils reintroduced the London Lorry Control Scheme on 1 June, with an initial two-week bedding in period during which operators of vehicles that may be in breach would receive only a warning notice.

The decisions sparked a robust response from the Road Haulage Association. RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said of the London Councils: “I find their decision to reintroduce enforcement controls at this extremely sensitive time to be beyond belief.”

He also wrote to London mayor Sadiq Khan to protest the TfL decisions. “With businesses on their knees as a result of Covid-19, now is not the time for imposing costs, especially with no practical notice period,” he said. “In effect, hauliers were given less than one working day’s notice to prepare for the reintroduction. This is not acceptable. I would ask you to please give an assurance that imposition of regulatory measures will be communicated well in advance in future.”

The RHA is also concerned at the creation of additional cycle lanes and pavement space in London, again at very short notice. Richard Burnett added: “Overlooking the need to move goods around London will undermine the competitiveness and productivity of the city. Many measures which favour cyclists have impacts on other road users, especially freight operations that need to work to meet the demands of customers.”

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