Businesses need more support to cope with ULEZ

Friday 05 April 2019

Businesses need more support to cope with the financial burden of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), according to FTA. With the scheme launching on Monday (8th April), FTA, the business organisation representing the interests of the logistics sector, is renewing its calls for Sadiq Khan to recognise the flaws in the scheme: it is not the most effective way to improve air quality in the long-term and will only cost the livelihoods of many small businesses in London unless changes are made.

“FTA recognises and supports the legal obligation to improve air quality and supports the principle of a low emission zone,” says Natalie Chapman, Head of Urban Policy at FTA, “but we question the effectiveness of the scheme in reducing emissions and the lack of financial support the Mayor of London is providing to local and small businesses. Operators and vehicle manufacturers have already led the way with investment in cleaner technologies through developments in engine standards; this has helped to reduce levels of key pollutants more than 20-fold over recent years. The scheme is not a transformative measure, as marketed by Sadiq Khan:  it simply brings forward the fleet replacement cycle at huge cost to many small businesses and operators of specialist vehicles.”

In December 2018, Sadiq Khan announced a measure to help micro-businesses in London – those with fewer than 10 staff – prepare for the financial cost of updating their vans to those compliant with ULEZ standards. But as Ms Chapman continues, this support does not go far enough: “FTA is pleased to see support for the smallest businesses through proposals for a van scrappage scheme; these are businesses which would be hardest hit by any sudden changes in operating compliance. But more must be done. Transport for London is planning to review uptake of the scheme; if funding remains available, FTA would like to see this support made available to businesses of all sizes and operating all types of non-compliant vehicles. For example, Leeds City Council is granting businesses up to £16,000 to replace HGVs that do not comply with its Clean Air Zone; FTA would like to see London follow  these footsteps.”

Chapman continues: “Since 2014, it has been mandatory for all new trucks to have a Euro 6 specification; based on historical fleet turnover patterns, more than half of the UK’s truck fleet will be Euro 6 by 2021. Within just a few years, the ULEZ will be redundant as the entire fleet will be Euro 6: FTA strongly advises the government to explore other strategies that will deliver longer-term changes, such as improvements to the road network and layout, investment in public charging points, retimed deliveries, and alterations to the Lorry Control Scheme.

“Where London leads, other cities follow: the ULEZ must set the right example for councils across the UK.”

FTA urges vehicle operators who are unsure of their compliance status to use TfL’s online compliance checker, available here

Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.  With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.  A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.