Thursday, February 14, 2013

Road Haulage Group Praises Boris for Excluding HGV’s from Emission Zone Changes

Freight and Logistics Sector Pleased but Critics Cynical
Shipping News Feature

UK – The decisions by the Mayor of London over the future of pollution control in the metropolis have been met with varying levels of support and cynicism alike this week. Boris Johnson announced the Congestion Charge areas of the capital will become an ‘Ultra Low Emission Zone’ by 2020 where only vehicles which produce the very lowest, or preferably no, harmful emissions may venture. There were exclusions however and to the relief of the freight and logistics community, particularly the membership of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), large trucks will be exempt from the changes due to be implemented in 2015 in the larger Low Emission Zone.

Buses which would have been affected are also excluded, not however the Transport for London fleet which will be updated to include only hybrid low emission vehicles, and the measures have engendered scorn in some quarters with critics saying the lack of control will initiate fines from the EU for missing pollution targets not to mention a level of pollution which endangers the lives of every Londoner, something which goes against the Mayor’s own declared strategy.

Support from the RHA was unequivocal however with the impracticality of effectively banning trucks which are the lifeblood of the City from going about their business. In a statement regarding the new Euro 5 target for heavy commercial vehicles in Phase V - RHA Director of Policy, Jack Semple, said:

“We do not have the exact details but it appears that the Mayor’s announcement reflects many of the points for which the RHA has argued strongly in meetings with Transport for London (and also in our consultation response on Air Quality to Defra in August 2011).

“Our case has always been to leave the regulations surrounding HGVs as they are and put any investment into improving buses. These have big diesel engines which are running (and therefore polluting the atmosphere) most of the time and spend their working life the London area.

“In terms of goods vehicle specification for 2020, we would want to see details of what is proposed. There is much work to be done in analysing the performance of different technologies and until that is completed it will not be possible to have a clear view of their relative merits. Electric, hybrid, gas and dual fuel are options that are currently being looked at and hydrogen will be on the scene by then also. But we should not underestimate the excellent, low-pollution performance Euro VI diesel engines for HGVs are expected to deliver.

“As far as goods are concerned, the cleanest, safest and most economical way to make deliveries in London is often in large trucks and we are pleased that this is increasingly recognised by regulators.”

Photo: As this fifty year old shot shows congestion and pollution in London is not a new problem.