The London Ultra Low Emission Zone will be expanded to cover the whole of Greater London for trucks in 2020, and inner London for vans (as well as cars) in 2021.
The Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) Head of UK Policy Christopher Snelling reacted with dismay and commented: “While some large logistics operators will have mostly compliant fleets, the real losers here will be small companies reliant on their lorries or vans. Small firms tend to buy second- hand so will have older vehicles that do not reach the latest emissions standards and will really struggle to raise the loans they will need to buy compliant vehicles a few years early then they would have.”
FTA has calculated that, for a typical small firm with five trucks or five vans, the extra cost of compliance in 2020 or 2021 will amount to more than 40% of their annual turnover – putting the business model of the company at risk.
“We all fully support the need to clean our air – after all, our members live in cities too. This is why FTA has been positively engaged in the compulsory deployment of the Euro standards regulations for our vehicles since the 1990s. But the reality is the ULEZ is not a transformative measure – it only brings forward the air quality gain that was coming anyway by a few years, at a cost to the livelihoods of many small businesses in London.”
FTA will continue to argue for limited sunset clauses for operators based inside the expanded Zone who need more time to meet the requirements, while not endangering positive overall progress on air quality.
Efficient logistics is vital to keep businesses trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. 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.