FTA urges businesses to plan ahead to cope with urban air quality plans

Logistics businesses across the UK need to plan for how they will deal with urban air quality plans that are under way in major cities, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has said. Several major cities are developing plans to implement Clean Air Zones or similar air quality improvement schemes, which could involve prohibitively high charges on those using older HGVs and vans. In addition, London has proposals that could see, at the same time, many HGVs banned from the capital for having insufficient direct vision. 

The FTA has been recommending for some time that operators plan procurement or other strategies in order to cope with this complicated patchwork of schemes, which are not consistent across the country, to ensure that the impact on their business is minimised. Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Urban Policy, said: “While the logistics sector is fully committed to reducing vehicle emissions wherever possible and acknowledges the role the industry must play in improving the air quality of our cities, the introduction of a complex and messy patchwork of schemes presents businesses with a difficult task.” Chapman added that fleet managers need to plan procurement of fleets and other strategies so they can keep trading effectively.

London already has an ultra low emission zone in force in central London, with plans to expand this to other parts of the capital in October 2021. Birmingham and Leeds had planned to introduce clean air zones in January 2020 but in June it was announced that the implementation had been “significantly postponed” because of a Government delay in delivering the digital systems required to make the zones operational and enforceable. Bath, Sheffield, Greater Manchester and Oxford are also planning to introduce clean air zones.

Glasgow already has low emission zone in force, which will apply to cars, vans and trucks from 2022.

Other cities, including Bristol, Newcastle and Derby are also considering introducing clean air zones in the coming years.

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