Clean Air Zones are not the most effective way to reach government-imposed air quality improvement targets, according to the Freight Transport Association.
The FTA has written a briefing note to support local authorities which have been asked by government to model CAZs, explaining the limitations of the schemes and advising them on alternative solutions. This includes incentivising the uptake of alternatively-fuelled and electric commercial vehicles, better management of congestion, and enabling more deliveries to be retimed.
“FTA and its members are committed to reducing harmful emissions from the logistics sector and takes its responsibility to do so very seriously,” Natalie Chapman, the FTA’s Head of Urban Policy at FTA, said. “That is why we are so keen to ensure local and national governments are using the most effective approach to improve air quality across the UK.
“Clean Air Zones – schemes designed to discourage the use of older, more polluting vehicles (pre-Euro VI/6 models) by imposing a charge as they enter a designated area – will not provide any lasting benefit to air quality; they also hit the small businesses and specialist operators who can least afford to pay.”
She added: “In the view of FTA, any air quality benefit derived from CAZs will be very short lived as the Euro VI/6 vehicles required to enter a zone without charge will come into fleets of their own accord, as part of the natural fleet replacement cycle. Euro VI has been mandatory in all new trucks since 2014; by the start of 2021 – when many of these CAZs are due to go live – FTA estimates that more than half of the UK truck fleet will already be Euro VI; the scheme will soon become redundant.”