Following the announcement today that TfL is planning to raise the London Congestion Charge, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has said today that for the transport and logistics industry that it is "a tax rise for businesses."
Transport for London (TfL) – the organisation responsible for the Congestion Charge – has said it is to consult on increasing the standard daily charge from £10 to £11.50, which for many motorists would mean a rise of 15%, but for the freight industry (who mainly use the ‘fleet scheme’) the increase would equate to an over-inflationary 17%.
FTA has long campaigned on behalf of its members by appealing to TfL to re-think the charge on freight operators who have no option other than to use the city’s roads and Congestion Charge zones.
Natalie Chapman, FTA Head of Policy London & South East stated:
"Whilst many congestion charge users face a potential 15 per cent increase in the daily charge this summer, most transport companies are registered on the fleet scheme so will be in line for an over-inflationary 17 per cent hike if the proposed changes go ahead. FTA realises that the Congestion Charge is to deter non-essential or discretionary journeys, but we consider this as a tax on businesses which have little alternative but to use trucks and vans during the day."
FTA adds that it fully recognises that the aim of the Congestion Charge is to reduce congestion, CO2 emissions and improve air quality, but considers the charge to be a ‘tax on deliveries’ as in many cases the delivery driver has no choice but to enter the Congestion Charge zone.
Ms Chapman added:
"Whilst FTA is not opposed to the principle of the Congestion Charge, London’s businesses rely on freight to deliver essential goods and services and without the logistics industry, the capital would simply grind to a halt."
FTA stated that it is not feasible to deliver goods on public transport and nor are alternative modes practical for the to-the-door deliveries that central London requires. With no charge-free breaks available in the daytime to encourage deliveries to be made outside of rush hour, the Association continues to ask TfL to consider all available options for providing discounts and exemptions to the scheme for freight.
This increase will ultimately be borne by London’s businesses, residents and visitors through the resulting higher prices for goods and services.