Freight carriers to discuss Southampton's air quality crackdown

COMPANIES which run commercial vehicles are to discuss the latest council measures to improve air quality in Southampton and Portsmouth. Southampton will host one of the Transport Manager Conferences, being organised by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) around the country, on November 5. The city decided earlier this year to introduce a clean air zone which would remove the most polluting taxis and impose new rules on buses.

The council will offer opportunities for businesses to try “consolidating” freight to remove HV trips, and there is to be an accreditation scheme for operators. But the council dropped plans to charge the operators of high-polluting vehicles up to GBP100 a day to drive into the city – a move backed by the FTA. November’s conference will include a keynote address by Sarah Bell, traffic commissioner for London and the South East.

She will talk about the Traffic Commissioners’ priorities for the year ahead, and what businesses need to do to keep within the law. Becki Kite, FTA’s policy manager for South Central England, said: “This event will enable anyone operating commercial vehicles to stay up-to-date with ever-changing legislation and good practice. “The programme is designed to include all the latest legislation changes and other information those responsible for commercial vehicles might need to know, and FTA’s experts will be on hand to offer plenty of advice.”

Other topics to be covered will include an update on enforcement by the DVSA; tyres, technology and how to reduce a fuel budget; brake testing; urban restrictions; trailer developments’ drivers’ employment status; and an update by the National Counter Terrorism Police on the sue of vehicles as weapons. More than seven million people are employed in the making, selling and moving of goods, the FTA says. It says logistics has never been more important to the UK, with Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces changing the way goods are moved across borders and through the supply chain.

The FTA seeks to voice the sector’s views to government, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers. Green groups accused Southampton council of a “cop out” after it dropped plans to penalise the most pollutive vehicles entering the city. The idea had been backed by more than half the 4,300 residents responding to the city’s biggest ever public consultation.

But others were concerned about the impact on the economy and Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith said the proposals would “finish businesses”.

The FTA event is aimed at anyone who runs a van or lorry fleet of any size.

Details of the confernece are at

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