London Mayor Boris Johnson last month dropped plans to bring in tougher NOx limits for commercial vehicles when Phase 5 of the Low Emission Zone is implemented in 2015. Johnson said a key reason for proposing changes to phase five was that it had emerged that Euro vehicle standards have not actually reduced NOx emissions for vehicles operating in urban environments to the level that was forecast. NOx levels would therefore not have been reduced as planned under the original proposals for phase five. As a result, the phase five will now only apply to Transport for London’s fleet of buses.
Johnson says it will save around £350m in costs for businesses using vehicles that would have been affected by the changes. And he argued that a range of alternative measures could deliver around 200 per cent of the benefits forecast by the original proposal for phase five of the Low Emission Zone.
For many operators, of course, the impact will be minimal – they already run vehicles that meet the proposed targets.
So perhaps the Mayor could be persuaded to look at some of the other issues that blight deliveries in London. First there is the congestion charge. The political argument for this is that it discourages motorists from driving into the centre of London.
But delivery vehicles don’t go into the city on a whim – they have to be there. So it is just a tax on deliveries.
And, isn’t it time for local councils to look again at parking fines? A survey by the Freight Transport Association last year found that, between Q3 2011 and Q2 2012, the 27 participating companies paid £2.9 million in PCN fines – an average of £112,000. PCNs cost one company more than £730,000.
Again, it’s absurd that delivery vehicles are being penalised for doing what everyone wants them to do – delivering goods.
Johnson wants to create the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London – in itself not a bad ambition – but isn’t it time that more consideration was given to the vehicles that drive the commercial life of the city?
Malory Davies FCILT,