The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has expressed its dismay at plans to tighten the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in London, despite the positive steps the industry has already taken.
Richard Burnett, the Chief Executive of the RHA, believes the haulage industry’s efforts in adopting cleaner air technologies is being somewhat ignored by the Mayor of London.
In addition to this, the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be expanded up to the north and south circular from October 2021 – adding to the plans to tighten the standards for the heavy vehicles that emit the most pollution.
The new zone, which will affect 140,000 vehicles each and every day, will reduce air pollution at a time when the government is clamping down on this issue; research has revealed air pollution is fourth behind cancer, obesity and heart disease in terms of the biggest risk to public health.
However, the RHA believe that 43% of the UK fleet will be subject to charges due to plans for London’s LEZ, which will see Euro IV and V trucks charged £100 a day to enter London, while Euro III trucks will pay £300.
And Mr Burnett believes this ignores the fact that the haulage industry has led the way in adopting clean technology.
In the absence of any sign that the collected money will be reinvested into this particular industry, the Chief Executive of the RHA believes it’s a way of generating money from the sector and thinks the policy may actually increase pollution.
He said: “Our sector has done a huge amount to adopt cleaner air technologies over the last few years – in fact we’ve nearly halved our NOx emissions since 2013 – and that trend is set to continue. We expect the figure will be 70% in 2021, yet the Mayor still pursues policies that ignore the progress we’re making in leading transport towards an emissions-free future.
“Many hauliers will be priced out of delivering in the capital – and some may even be driven out of business – so suppliers will turn to vans instead.
“This will mean more congestion on London’s roads, which will mean more pollution.”