At a meeting of the Freight Transport Association's Welsh Freight Council held in Llandrindod Wells last week, members highlighted their grave concerns over potential plans to impose a congestion charge within Cardiff. FTA understands that Cardiff City Council is considering imposing a charge similar to London's in an attempt to reduce congestion within the city.
This additional burden could potentially make Cardiff the most expensive city in Britain to deliver to. In the next ten years, there could be a situation where commercial vehicles delivering into Cardiff have to pay four separate tariffs, first the Severn Crossing, then the proposed M4 Toll, then Cardiff's congestion charge scheme, and finally, to rub salt in the wound, the potential threat of national road pricing.
Bill Simons, FTA's Welsh Freight Council Chairman says, 'In an era where each region is competing to gain future investment, a decision by Cardiff to implement a scheme based on the one in London could have disastrous consequences. I cannot foresee any international company wanting to stay or locate in Cardiff when they would have to pay so much every day for the privilege. At present Cardiff is already at a disadvantage with the Severn Toll, and we do not want to make this situation any worse.
'The only reason for a lorry to enter the city centre in the first place is because it is supplying shops and industry with essential goods. If London's scheme is anything to go by, then a congestion charge will not actually reduce the number of lorries entering Cardiff. The goods will still have to be delivered but with an added cost. A congestion charge by its nature is designed to encourage an alternative mode of transport to the car. This of course cannot apply to goods, where there is no alternative but delivery by road.
'FTA is calling on Cardiff City Council to be pragmatic. If it does indeed decide to introduce a congestion charge, then it should exempt commercial vehicles in order to keep Cardiff commercially competitive.'
For further information call:
Policy Manager -Wales & South West England
mob: 07818 450401