Emissions only part of the Scottish air quality issue, says FTA

Thursday 07 September 2017

The Freight Transport Association has urged government to appreciate the steps which the sector has taken in improving vehicle emissions in the past ten years, ahead of the start of the Scottish Government’s consultation into Low Emission Zones. 

“Air quality is improving, and has been for decades,” explains Chris MacRae, Head of Policy for Scotland at FTA, which represents more than 16,000 logistics businesses across the UK, “and while it is obviously incumbent upon all of us to protect our environment, to assume that air quality is in decline is simply not true.  The challenge before government and industry is how to accelerate the positive change that is already under way.

“The focus on low emission zones in isolation is misplaced, in the view of our members, because it presupposes the outcome of any consultation, and views the results in isolation without looking at the bigger picture.  Low Emission Zones, which are to be debated during the consultation which opens today (6 September 2017), only focus on the issue as it relates to one sector of industry – and this will not provide a holistic solution which achieves further improvements in air quality.

“Scotland has ambitious targets for air quality improvement, which cannot be achieved by one sector of industry on its own.  We believe it is incumbent upon all sectors of the population and industry – not just freight operators – to change their behaviours.  As today’s consultation gets under way, we urge the Scottish government to consider the introduction of a low emission zone not as an isolated case but as a component of a more extensive air quality improvement programme, to ensure the best possible outcome can be achieved by all parties for the good of the nation’s health.”

FTA will continue to work with its members and Transport Scotland, as the Association has over the past six months, to ensure the interests of the logistics industry are represented in the consultation.  FTA represents all modes of the UK’s freight and logistics sector on behalf of its 16,000 members.  The UK remains a leader in logistics at a global level, ranked in the top ten countries in terms of logistics performance, and the sector contributes 11% of the UK’s non-financial business economy.  In 2016, 2.54 million people were employed in logistics in the UK, approximately 8% of the UK’s workforce.  FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles - half the UK fleet - consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and 70 per cent of sea and air freight.
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