Lorry drivers have united forming a letter written to the Secretary of Transport: Chris Grayling. The contents of the letter stated the government need to be more supportive of HGV drivers when introducing the Clean Air Zones, as it will brutally hit firms that rely on lorries to deliver their goods.
Christopher Snelling, Head of the FTA’s UK Policy spoke regarding the matter: “We support the need to improve the quality of air in our cities, but given CAZs only bring forward the beneficial change that is coming anyway by a couple of years, we don’t want this to be at the cost of small businesses’ ability to trade.”
Many cities across the UK plan to introduce Clean Air Zones in an effort to lower emissions which is slowly but significantly damaging the environment. London is first in line to put these plans into action due to the high levels of emissions that come from the city as it is. There are additional Ultra Low Emission Zone plans set to begin on April 8th 2019.
Snelling went on to say “HGVs are an integral part of the economy at both national, regional and local level. Currently, there are no commercially or operationally viable alternatives to diesel in terms of HGV motive power. Over 90% of everything the public eat, drink, wear and build with travels on an HGV at some point in the supply chain.”
The firms stated in their letter they “fully support” the actions the government are taking to improve the environment, but went on to say the Government should focus on introducing a system that “works for businesses as well as having a real impact on pollution”.
The FTA shared their opinion on the matter: “The current approach being proposed by many local authorities will create an additional tax on thousands of businesses and disrupt supply chains across the country, whilst failing to deliver the significant air quality improvements that are required.”
They continued: “The proposed HGV charge for all trucks other than the latest Euro VI models is typically £100 per day, which could equate to an additional 25% on the daily running cost of a non-compliant vehicle. Unfortunately, it is SMEs and small businesses that will be worst affected under the current approach, as these operators are often those that are least equipped to absorb such a financial blow.”
“Even if an overwhelming number of HGV operators opted to rapidly upgrade their fleets to Euro VI over the next couple of years, there is unlikely to be sufficient HGV production capacity. Meanwhile, there is currently no approved Euro VI retrofit option for trucks.”
The letter included options from the firms that they would like the government to consider. Options what would still reduce emissions, but would lower the damage the terms would cause businesses. Including:
- Improving access on road spaces, making night time deliveries possible by using solutions such as bus lanes
- CAZ charge exemptions at night or while travelling certain routes. Routes such as: garages, test centres and distribution hubs that are on the outskirts of the Clean Air Zone.
- Reduce charge for Euro V trucks which means their used value makes selling the model much easier while upgrading to Euro VI.
- All CAZ standards need to be under administration and observed constantly with consistency on their terms on a nationwide scale.
- Supporting local authorities on the CAZ by giving much clearer guides than what has already been established.
Hopefully the government come up with a plan that respects the driver’s wishes.