The FTA recently expressed concern after new Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, revealed a new congestion charge plan for HGV's to improve the air quality in London. This could mean more costs to companies based in London, increasing the risk of shutting the doors altogether for smaller London-based businesses.
Sadiq Khan’s proposals included:
- Increasing the Ultra-Low Emission Zone
further to the North Circular Road and South Circular Road. Planning to update the ULEZ before 2020. This will also be within the congestion charge zone.
-There will be additional costs for the vehicles giving out the most pollution when gaining access to central London, making use of the Congestion Charge cost, this will be in place from 2017. This means there would be extra added towards Congestion Charge for those driving the vehicles giving out the most pollution in the city.
-ULEZ standards for heavy-transportation vehicles from 2020
-The Government have also green-lit TFL’s diesel scrappage scheme which would also be part of a much larger, nationwide scheme funded by the Government.
When questioned about these new plans Khan stated: “The previous Mayor was too slow on this issue and the Government has been hopelessly inactive and it’s Londoners who are suffering as a result” He continued saying: “We need to speed up our efforts so I’ll be launching a consultation before the summer to kick-start the process.”
Head of the FTA, Christopher Snelling responded to Khan’s new plans saying: “It should be remembered that air quality has already improved substantially in the capital, and will continue to improve further – even if London does nothing.
Freight operators and the service industry could find themselves being charged extra for their vehicles before they have had any reasonable chance to upgrade. Many businesses could lose trade first in central London, then the whole of inner London – and for businesses based in the zones involved, the impacts will be even worse.”
Not only will this mean extra costs on congestion charge for businesses, but also a requirement for vehicles to be Euro 6 if based around central London – the estimated time for this requirement is 2018. This requirement would extend to Greater London by 2020. The association’s other concern aside from the increase of costs is the worry for small businesses around London such as couriers who rely on the central London area and use vehicles that will not fit these regulations, possibly having a severe impact on business in London.