The Mayor of London’s announcement of an £80m support package to retrofit the city’s buses to help them meet the costs of air quality compliance shows once again that the onus for meeting the upcoming regulations is being left at the door of business, not the capital as a whole, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA). FTA, the country’s logistics trade association, which represents 16,000 companies within the logistics sector, says that that the thousands of companies using vans and HGVs in the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be significantly disrupted by the introduction of the regulation, especially the small businesses, and cannot be expected to make all the necessary changes to meet new standards without support from local government.
In order to comply with the Euro VI legislation on air quality, businesses that need to use diesel vehicles to keep London moving throughout the day are set to face heavy costs, of hundreds of pounds a day per vehicle, and, according to the FTA, should be afforded support, or allowed a more flexible approach to the introduction of the regulation.
“The Mayor’s announcement of a support package for bus operators is welcome news in the fight to improve the quality of London’s air, but does not go far enough,” says Christopher Snelling, Head of National Policy for the FTA. “Once again, freight operators, who have already made huge steps to reduce their industry’s emissions, are to be lumbered with huge bills at a time when businesses are already under intense cost pressures supplying London.
“Either the Mayor should offer a form of financial support to businesses needing to upgrade their vehicles early, or he should allow a degree of flexibility about the introduction of the regulation. For example, FTA wants to see the residents’ diesel car “sunset clause”, giving a temporary delay in the requirement, to be extended to small businesses with vehicles which are based in the Zone.
“Of course, the continued improvement in London’s air quality, which is happening anyway, is vital, but whilst achieving it, we don’t want to hurt the businesses that keep London supplied with goods everyday”.