With more and more cities and councils enforcing ultra-low emission zones, bringing in higher congestion charges and all together banning cars in some areas, it is all the more pressing that businesses think alternative strategies and going green right now.
Tottenham Court Road in London is one of the many examples of changes that are happening in cities in a bid to clean up our air. This traffic clean-up is part of a project launched by Camden Council in 2015 in order to create new open spaces and improve air quality in the area. It will see Tottenham Court Road being transformed into a two-way street wider pavements and new pedestrian crossings. And here’s the catch: the road will only be open to buses and bikes between 8am and 7pm, Monday to Saturday. These changes will be effective as of March 2019.
Likewise, Hackney Council has already enforced pedestrian and cycle zones which will only allow road access to vehicles emitting fewer than 75g CO2/km emissions, and local permit holders between 7am and 10am, and 4pm and 7pm Monday to Friday in its two new ultra-low emission zones in Hoxton and Shoreditch.
The FTA spoke out about how this would hurt local businesses, noting that “this new scheme is effectively a ban on HGVs, given that there is currently no availability of these types of vehicles on the market or even a definition of an Ultra-Low Emission Truck (ULET),” said FTA policy manager for vans and urban, Denise Beedell.
However, the reality is that this going green is no longer an option, it is a requirement. This poses the question: what are businesses going to do and are they ready to go greener?
As of April 2020, any lorries that do not comply with Euro 6 standards will be charged an extra £100 a day to enter a new Ultra Low Emission Zone in addition to the existing Congestion Charge. The ULEZ will cover the same area as the CC, but in late 2021, it is set to expand and cover the entire area within the North Circular and South Circular roads. This will no doubt have a knock-on effect for logistics providers and businesses alike.
“The Ultra Low Emission Zone will impact hauliers running into London, particularly if they have not been steadily replacing vehicles in recent years. It’s going to take them a huge financial investment to upgrade to Euro 6,” said Fortec member LHT Logistics managing director Ben Ruby.
However, LHT has been planning for these changes for some time and 90 per cent of its vehicles are already Euro 6 standard. “We are already working as a consolidation partner for a lot of transport companies who just can’t get into London now with the new regulations and need a provider to deliver the last leg of the journey,” added Ruby.
So, how ready are you?