Mayor’s plans ‘could lock small businesses out of London’ – FTA11 October 2016

The Freight Transport Association is urging London’s mayor Sadiq Khan to reconsider his plans announced yesterday (10 October) to bring forward the introduction of the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) to 2019.

A public consultation was launched in July on the proposal to start the ULEZ in 2019, with expansion the following year. However, the mayor has now suggested that the expansion to inner London for vans and to Greater London for HGVs could happen in 2019.

FTA had already warned of potential serious difficulties to businesses. “We stated before that the central ULEZ starting in 2019 and expanding in 2020 would cause significant issues – especially in the van sector where there will only be two-and-a-half to three years’ worth of compliant vehicles in the fleet,” says FTA’s head of national and regional policy Christopher Snelling.

“Typically, operators who rely on second-hand vehicles buy at four years old, so it will place significant cost burdens on them.”

He adds: “Bringing this further forward only adds to the cost on small businesses. Those using, or relying on, vans in inner London will now face a situation where there are no second-hand vehicles available to purchase.”

FTA estimates that the proposals could cost the average small operator with five vans more than £100,000 in upfront costs and says it could “lock some small businesses out of the London market altogether”.

“No one disputes the need to improve air quality,” clarifies Snelling. “Once again, what we do object to is the one-sided nature of these measures – all burden and no support.

“London could improve air quality more quickly and reduce the burden on businesses at the same time by offering a temporary discount to the Congestion Charge for compliant vehicles prior to the ULEZ starting.

“The government has said it has no interest in a scrappage scheme and we see no prospect of that changing.”

To view the consultation, click the link below.

Laura Cork

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