FTA predicts 3 major impacts on business
- An additional charge on the Congestion Charge which is expected to impact vans and lorries;
- A requirement for vans and lorries to be Euro VI/6 across inner-London – possibly as early as 2018
- The proposal would require lorries to be Euro VI across all of Greater London as early as 2020.
THE NEW Mayor’s plan to fast track a London emissions clampdown have come under fire from both the BVRLA and the FTA because of the impact on businesses – and van users in particular.
The FTA expressed “extreme concern”, saying the package proposed by Sadiq Khan would add substantial cost to all London businesses, and potentially put some small companies out of work altogether.
Christopher Snelling – FTA’s head of national and regional policy, said: ”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.
“These disruptive proposals will at best only accelerate the situation that is likely in a few years from now. They will put businesses at risk, and add massive costs to all – especially to those who need the services that vans provide.
Christopher Snelling added: “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.”
Is this the future?
FTA has said that the plans outlined by the new London Mayor could have three major possible impacts on business; first an additional charge on the Congestion Charge which is expected to impact vans and lorries; secondly a requirement for vans and lorries to be Euro VI/6 across inner-London – possibly as early as 2018; and thirdly the proposal would require lorries to be Euro VI across all of Greater London as early as 2020.
The Association said that in addition to the general increase in cost of doing business in the capital, that is was also worried about the impact of a London emissions clampdown on small businesses in the haulage sector and all those who use or rely on vans.
Mr Snelling added: “The tipping point where these regulations become less disruptive to business is around eight years after the Euro standard was introduced when a third to half the fleet is compliant, and the second hand market is fully developed allowing all companies to upgrade if needed.
‘We believe a diesel scrappage scheme is a blunt instrument for improving air quality – there needs to be thought put into this scheme. Motorists should be encouraged to use vehicles as and when they need them – rather than just being given £2,000 to buy a new vehicle, they could be given vouchers for car clubs’ – Gerry Keaney, BVRLA.
“FTA is concerned that these new proposals could see lorries charged extra just three years after their Euro VI standard came in, and vans just months after – as their Euro 6 standard does not start until this autumn.
“If we are to avoid increasing costs for consumers, businesses will need significant financial help to adopt these standards this early. It is imperative that the Mayor looks at carrots as well as sticks.”
BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “We support all measures introduced to improve air quality, but are wary of the impact the Mayor’s proposals will have on local communities and businesses.”
The BVRLA is very concerned about Sadiq Khan’s plans to extend the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North Circular Road and the South Circular Road, and possibly bring forward its introduction from 2020.
Mr Keaney said: “These last minute adjustments to the ULEZ scheme would not give businesses time to prepare and could punish a large number of companies who have already planned their vehicle requirements based on the scheduled 2020 introduction date.
“It took years of planning, research and consultation to come up with the current ULEZ proposals and rushing through with any changes could have major unforeseen repercussions.”
Any air quality plan should also look at encouraging uptake of ultra low emission plug-in vehicles with a range of in-life incentives, such as free parking or use of bus lanes
The Mayor has also suggested in his London emission curbs that the most polluting vehicles would be hit with an extra charge on top of the Congestion Charge payment from as early as next year, 2017.
The London Mayor has also given the go-ahead for Transport for London (TfL) to start work on the costs and challenges of implementing a diesel scrappage scheme in the Capital.
“We believe a diesel scrappage scheme is a blunt instrument for improving air quality – there needs to be thought put into this scheme. Motorists should be encouraged to use vehicles as and when they need them – rather than just being given £2,000 to buy a new vehicle, they could be given vouchers for car clubs.
“Any air quality plan should also look at encouraging uptake of ultra low emission plug-in vehicles with a range of in-life incentives, such as free parking or use of bus lanes.”
Keaney concluded: “Air quality is vitally important, but we also need to ensure that people can afford to live and work in London. We believe that the current ULEZ proposals strike a good balance between these priorities and can be built on going forward.”