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Why can’t Londoners feel the benefit of cleaner air today? Asks FTA

“Why wait until 2020 to reap the benefits of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)?” Is the question being asked by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) to the Mayor of London – Boris Johnson.

“Fleets are already operating Euro VI HGVs, but if Transport for London (TfL) provided the right incentives, businesses would ensure that those vehicles are used in central London – the place which faces some of the worst air quality levels in the UK and Europe.” Said FTA’s Natalie Chapman –Head of Policy for London.

FTA was responding to the Mayor of London’s criticism of EU and UK government policy, and its effect on pollution levels from diesel engine vehicles, by highlighting the substantial improvements that have been made as a result of the Euro standards and calling for incentives for operators who operate the latest, Euro VI, vehicles.

The Alternative Fuel discount was scrapped in 2010, since then the only discounts available for the Congestion Charge are for cleaner cars – there are no incentives to encourage investment in cleaner commercial vehicles.

Ms Chapman added:
“TfL seems to be missing a trick here, by offering a discount for Euro VI commercial vehicles, they could ensure that fleets move their newest and cleanest vehicles to the capital giving those living and working in Central London some of the benefits of the ULEZ right now. The right incentives could lead to greater use of the cleanest vehicles.”

Launching his new air quality manifesto in a speech in London yesterday (29 July), Boris Johnson called on the UK government and the EU to do more to reduce harmful exhaust emissions. He described the Capital’s plans for an Ultra-Low Emission Zone by 2020 as a “game changer” and set out a route map for achieving compliance with EU air quality limits by 2020 (rather than 2030 as the UK government currently predicts). FTA has taken the opportunity to urge TfL and the Mayor to offer a discount from the Congestion Charge for Euro VI commercial vehicles, to encourage use of these trucks in central London and give some of the anticipated benefits of the ULEZ earlier than 2020.

Emissions from diesel-engined HGVs have improved enormously since Euro Standards were introduced in the early 1990s. As a result, over the last 20 years PM emissions from new HGVs have reduced by 95 per cent and NOx by 98 per cent.

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