The last few days have seen cross-party calls for reflection on implementing environmental policies such as the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Clean Air Zones (CAZ).
“We support the aim of improving air quality but believe that the current CAZ framework needs fundamental reform. This is because it does not target pollution sources effectively nor account for the supply of the required Euro 6 vehicles. It is right that politicians now pause and reflect on how we can best achieve net zero.
The ULEZ and its sister policy of Clean Air Zones are in many cases badly designed policies which have long vexed our industry. Whilst the intention to reduce pollution quickly is right, the way they have been implemented has been inflexible, increasingly driven by dogma, driving up costs for both business and the consumer during a cost-of-living crisis.
These policies have created a supply shortage of approved vehicles, hurting those least able to adapt such as small businesses who cannot easily bridge the price inflation nor the punitive charges such a shortage creates.
The Road Haulage Association have extensively lobbied local and national Government on the design and implementation of these policies, which overlooks the needs of small businesses and the challenges they face in replacing their vehicles. We regret that technical fixes which could have resolved these issues were ignored, commented, RHA MD Richard Smith.
“As we turn our attention to achieving net zero, the RHA is calling for greater clarity, collaboration, certainty, and investment amongst the many partners, including government departments, whom we work with. Alternative ways also exist to achieve the environment benefits we all desire. This includes ramping up investment in engine standards and alternative fuels – this has seen pollution levels from lorries fall by over 85% since 2013. Policies to improve our environment must not be at the expense of our hard-pressed small businesses operating on wafer-thin margins. Neither should it be at the expense of consumers during a cost-of-living crisis when costs from these policies get passed on.”
Local and national politicians must now re-think their approach.