Monday, November 6, 2017

London Mayoral Decision on Road Haulage Vehicle Emissions Provokes Outrage

Early Implementation Will Result in More Vans, Congestions and Possible Pollution
Shipping News Feature
UK – London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced plans to bring forward the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), a measure to help tackle the capital's air pollution and dramatically reduce harmful emissions, by seventeen months to April 8, 2019, news that has outraged the Road Haulage Association (RHA) which argues that the earlier implementation of the ULEZ charge will hamper businesses in London and instead called for a more gradual approach.

From April 2019 the ULEZ will replace the T-Charge, introduced last month to help deter the use of older more polluting vehicles, and operate in the same area, alongside the congestion charge but unlike the T-Charge and Congestion Charge, which are only in place on weekdays, it will operate around the clock.

There will also be two ULEZ charge levels: £12.50 a day for cars, vans and motorbikes and £100 a day for lorries, buses and coaches. These charges will be in addition to the Congestion Charge (C-Charge), so the more polluting cars and vans would pay £24 per day and lorries would pay £111.50 during C-Charge hours.

All revenue raised will be used by Transport for London to help maintain a greener transport fleet and reduce pollution across the transport network. ULEZ will also affect thousands more vehicles, up to 60,000 every day, compared to the estimated 6,500 a day affected by the T-Charge.

Diesel vehicles that do not meet the Euro VI standards and most petrol vehicles that do not meet the Euro V standard will have to take action or pay. The measures will mean that all trucks registered before 2014 will face heavy fines. The RHA’s position is that business needs more time for a higher proportion of the lorry fleet to be Euro VI ultra clean trucks. The Euro V lorries that will be just 5 to 9 years old when ULEZ comes in should have been excluded. RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett said:

“The Mayor and TFL have ignored our advice and will now bring the Central London ULEZ in 17 months early. This flies in the face of common sense, and our consultation response. Since the early introduction of the ULEZ was first proposed we have pushed hard for a phased approach that will improve air quality and maintain the economy of London.

“We are concerned that the ULEZ charge will cost many hauliers £100 per day, and that’s in addition to the other charges they already pay. More than half the GB lorry fleet will not be Euro VI when the ULEZ is introduced. Bringing the date forward by 17 months is little more than a means of quickly bringing in revenue to cover the Mayor’s other plans for the City.

“The trucks being penalised are responsible for are responsible for delivering London’s economy, they fill London’s shelves with food and the other goods we depend on, many are already powered by ultra-low emissions vehicles. This industry is already doing all it can to meet air quality standards. But, the acquisition of new vehicles has been planned on the previous Mayor’s original dates. Lorries last about 12 years, to announce a 17 months early adoption of the scheme is not giving operators sufficient time to phase out older vehicles and replace them with Euro VI.

“It appears that the Mayor has decided that ULEZ will become London-wide for heavy vehicles in the very near future. But it is essential that a realistic implementation date and appropriate phasing is established and adhered to. The current approach will lead to the use of more vans, will increase congestion and will undermine the economic wellbeing of the city. Given the switch to vans, there is even a strong possibility that the Mayor’s plans could make air quality worse.

“Hauliers and the people and businesses of London should not be penalised by this retrospective regulation that is little more than a tax grab by the Mayor.”

As a result of the planned implementation of the ULEZ charge, road transport emissions in central London are expected to reduce by an additional 20 per cent in 2019 as a result of the early introduction of the ULEZ. This includes:

  • NOx emissions from HGVs are expected to reduce by nearly 50%.
  • Coach and non-TfL bus emissions will reduce by more than a third.
  • Emissions from cars and vans are expected to reduce by eight and 12% respectively (it should be noted that while the reduction in emissions is smaller than for larger vehicles, their savings make up nearly one-third of the emissions reductions in central London).
  • More than 30,000 people in central London (a 40% reduction), and 100,000 people across London, will no longer live in areas exceeding the NO2 limits. 19 schools in central London and 42 schools across London will no longer be in areas exceeding legal limits in 2019 as a result.
  • The ULEZ benefits should be even greater by 2020 with an estimated 45% reduction in road transport emissions.

According to the Mayor of London, more than 18,000 Londoners responded to the public consultation on ULEZ, with nearly 60% (11,041) strongly supporting the principle of ULEZ, and 63% (11,383) supporting or strongly supporting earlier implementation. Mayor Sadiq Khan commented:

“London’s lethal air is one of the biggest health challenges of this generation. We can’t continue breathing in air so toxic it harms children’s lung development and causes chronic illness and premature death. I am determined to take the bold action needed to address this scourge once and for all.

“So I am pleased to confirm that from 8th April 2019 – 17 months earlier than planned – stricter standards for diesel vehicles will apply 24/7 across central London. This builds on the success of the T-Charge and is part of my comprehensive plan to clean London’s air.”

“I’ve taken the bold action we need to protect our children, but we now urgently need the Government to step up and provide the support to Londoners and businesses required to help them meet these crucial standards.”

The Mayor has also called on the Government to put in place a national vehicle scrappage scheme to help people replace vehicles affected by the proposals or switch to cleaner alternatives, including a proposal for £3,500 to be made available for up to 70,000 van and minibus drivers to change their vehicle. There was overwhelming support for this in the first round of his consultation. He also wants fiscal incentives, like vehicle excise duty, to be reformed so they support his proposals and encourage people to own and use the cleanest vehicles.