If the Government wants clean air more quickly they need to “work with us – not penalise the lorry industry.” That’s the call from Road Haulage Association chief executive, Richard Burnett giving a speech at the Microlise Transport Conference at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry today (Wednesday 16 May).
He said ministers must come up with a scrappage scheme that works. The recent court ruling brought by ClientEarth that has forced the Government’s hand on speeding up clean air zones means that different towns and cities could have different policies – and fines – for different lorries delivering into them. That could hit businesses hard and leave the logistics trade confused with multiple standards and rules.
He pointed out that trucks entering London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone – launched next year – will be fined £100 if non-compliant (Euro V or below) – and when an average SME operator makes around £60 profit per truck, per week, extra costs could make it uneconomical to deliver to the capital. This means more vans, which means more congestion and more pollution.
Richard Burnett called for a phased approach to cleaning up air which will be less disruptive to the sector and avoid the shift to vans. By 2025, HGV NOx emissions will be a fifth of what they were in 2013 – and far less than the bigger polluters on and off the roads.
He said: “There should be no bans or restrictions on lorries less than 12 years old. Local authorities need a single framework. The RHA is perfectly placed to help guide government and local authorities to shape transport policies, including measures needed to support business through the transition period.”