The FTA claimed the ULEZ would prove to be problematic for small businesses and specialist hauliers serving London.
The ULEZ is an area within which all cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) would need to meet exhaust emission standards – so-called ULEZ standards – or pay a daily charge to travel.
“We need to continue the improvement in London’s air quality, which is happening anyway, but this regulation taking effect in 2019 will severely disadvantage small businesses working in the capital’s centre,” warned Natalie Chapman, FTA’s head of policy for London and the South East.
“The impact will be especially hard for van users, as by 2019 there will only be two and a half years’ worth of compliant vehicles in the fleet – and no second hand compliant vehicles available for purchase at all.”
Extended to Greater London
It is now planned that the Zone will extend in 2020 to Greater London for HGVs and to inner London for vans in 2021.
“It is encouraging that this is not happening in 2019 as had been suggested,” said Chapman. “This shows the mayor [Sadiq Khan] has listened to some of the concerns that had been raised. But the expansions of the Zone will still increase the burden on business exponentially.
“We are calling for businesses based in the affected area to have access to a sunset clause, such as has been offered to private residents, allowing them greater time to comply with the change required without the need for unnecessary and potentially crippling additional charges for new vehicles.”
Chapman referred to Khan’s previous call on the government to fund a scrappage scheme aimed at owners of older diesel cars and vans.
“We fully support him in that call and believe it is the place of national government to help prevent the cost burden to implement these measures falling on local authorities, businesses and residents,” she said.
“If such a scrappage scheme were created, it would give the mayor the necessary room to introduce more flexibility to the London ULEZ, helping operators to avoid some of this unwieldy and unexpected burden on small businesses.
“At a time when London’s businesses face an increasingly challenging trading environment, the Mayor should be taking every possible step to help the capital’s small businesses, and we will urge through this consultation for more consideration to be given to those affected by the introduction of these new measures.”