© Skypixel UK roads
© Skypixel

Hauliers are calling for assurances that businesses reliant on HGVs will not be unfairly hit by the introduction of clean air zones (CAZs) in the UK.

A coalition led by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association and Road Haulage Association made its case in a letter to transport secretary Chris Grayling.

It follows news that a growing number of cities are considering HGV-charging in CAZs in a bid to reduce “illegal” levels of nitrous oxide emissions.

Head of UK policy at the FTA Christopher Snelling said the coalition was in support of improving air quality across the country, but it did not want this to come at the cost of small businesses’ ability to trade.

“While we fully support the aims behind CAZ, we encourage government to implement a system that works for business and has a real impact on pollution,” said Mr Snelling.

“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.”

The proposed HGV charge for trucks, other than latest Euro VI models, is about £100 a day, which could increase daily running costs of a non-compliant vehicles by 25%.

Mr Snelling said those “least equipped” to upgrade to the latest Euro VI models – namely SMEs – would be most affected by this approach, noting even if they could afford to upgrade fleets, there would be insufficient HGV production capacity.

“HGVs are an integral part of the country’s economy at national, regional, and local levels,” added Mr Snelling. “Currently, there are no commercially or operationally viable alternatives to diesel in terms of HGV motive power, and over 90% of everything the public eats, drinks, wears and builds with travels on an HGV at some point in the supply chain.”

In the letter, the coalition asks Mr Grayling to sit down and meet with them to discuss various solutions it believes could lessen the impact.

Most notably, it is calling for a sign-off on night deliveries, as well as improved road access, including “limited access” to bus lanes and implementation of CAZ charge exemptions on certain routes and for night-time deliveries.

Furthermore, it is asking for assurances that CAZ administration and standards are consistent across the country and communicated properly.

“Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly impacting more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods,” said Mr Snelling.

“With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.”

Comment on this article

You must be logged in to post a comment.