News that London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is to start on April 8 2019 – seventeen months earlier than originally planned – has left the Road Haulage Association (RHA) outraged.
Last month, Khan introduced the new Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) in central London to help deter the use of older more polluting vehicles, and encourage walking or cycling, or using public transport, in the build up to the ULEZ.
From April 2019, the ULEZ will replace the T-Charge and operate in the same area, alongside the congestion charge but (unlike the T-Charge and Congestion Charge, which are only in place on weekdays) it will operate 24 hours a days, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “The Mayor and TFL have ignored our advice and will now bring the central London ULEZ in 17 months early. This flies in the face of common sense, and our consultation response.
“Since the early introduction of the ULEZ was first proposed we have pushed hard for a phased approach that will improve air quality and maintain the economy of London.”
The RHA is concerned that the ULEZ charge will cost many hauliers £100 per day, and that’s in addition to the other charges they already pay.
Burnett continued: “More than half the GB lorry fleet will not be Euro VI when the ULEZ is introduced. Bringing the date forward by 17 months is little more than a means of quickly bringing in revenue to cover the Mayor’s other plans for the city.”
The measures will mean that all trucks registered before 2014 will face heavy fines. The RHA’s position is that business needs more time for a higher proportion of the lorry fleet to be Euro VI ultra clean trucks. The Euro V lorries that will be just five to nine years old when ULEZ comes in should have been excluded.
Burnett said: “The trucks being penalised are responsible for are responsible for delivering London’s economy, they fill London’s shelves with food and the other goods we depend on, many are already powered by ultra-low emissions vehicles.
“This industry is already doing all it can to meet air quality standards. But, the acquisition of new vehicles has been planned on the previous Mayor’s original dates.
“Lorries last about 12 years, to announce a 17 months early adoption of the scheme is not giving operators sufficient time to phase out older vehicles and replace them with Euro VI.
“It appears that the Mayor has decided that ULEZ will become London-wide for heavy vehicles in the very near future. But it is essential that a realistic implementation date and appropriate phasing is established and adhered to.
“The current approach will lead to the use of more vans, will increase congestion and will undermine the economic wellbeing of the city.
“Given the switch to vans, there is even a strong possibility that the Mayor’s plans could make air quality worse.
“Hauliers and the people and businesses of London should not be penalised by this retrospective regulation that is little more than a tax grab by the Mayor.”