The Freight Transport Association has called on London Mayor Boris Johnson to offer congestion charge discounts to the cleanest freight operators as a way of improving the city’s air quality.
The FTA says Boris Johnson’s vision of becoming the ultra-low emission vehicle capital of Europe could more readily achieved if he offered incentives now.
The mayor has just unveiled a plan to make London the ultra-low emission vehicle capital of Europe. In particular, London Fire Brigade is to replace 57 of its fleet vehicles with range extender and hybrid electric cars by 2016. London already claims to have the world’s largest green bus fleet.
But, Rachel Dillon, the FTA’s climate change policy manager, said: “Low emission vehicles can offer fantastic benefits to helping the freight sector play its role in reducing pollutants and carbon, but high vehicle costs, concerns over reliability and lack of public refuelling infrastructure means that uptake remains relatively small.”
Transport for London has a 15-point action plan to deliver ultra-low emission vehicles, including increasing the uptake in freight and fleet operations. This will include a new Low Emission Commercial Vehicle Programme commencing this summer in which the FTA is participating. The programme is intended to accelerate the uptake of low-emission commercial vehicles and refuelling infrastructure.
Dillon said: “Many fleets are already operating Euro VI HGVs ahead of the introduction of the ultra-low emission zone from 2020. The right incentives could mean that fleets move their newest and cleanest vehicles to the capital, giving those living and working in Central London some of the benefits of ULEZ straight away.”