Previously the GLA Conservatives have said that the emissions surcharge will bring about a ‘negligible’ improvement in air quality, pointing to TfL predictions that the charge will bring about just a 1-3% reduction in NOx (nitrous oxide) emissions.
Following the news that the T-Charge is to go ahead, Conservative London Assembly Member Shaun Bailey said: “To achieve that, 9,000 drivers a year will be charged a combined £23min fines, hitting self-employed traders who rely on their vehicles, as well as ordinary people who simply cannot afford to upgrade their cars.
“We all want to address London’s air quality but, in proceeding with this policy, the Mayor is simply dressing up an entirely ineffective scheme with spin and PR.”
However, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed the T-Charge, saying that It is incumbent on all of London’s road users to work together to reduce emissions in the capital, to help improve the city’s air quality
Natalie Chapman, FTA’s head of policy for London, said the scheme will undoubtedly benefit Londoners in health terms and added that the FTA will be encouraging the small number of commercial operators that may be affected to check if their vehicles comply.
However, the FTA says that there are more pressing policy concerns for transport operators, in considering changes to the planned Ultra-Low Emission Zone which is likely to impact on a much larger number of organisations.
Chapman added: “FTA is particularly concerned about the effect its introduction will have on van operators, not least because the new Euro 6 – the ULEZ standard – was introduced for new vans registered from last September. This means that vans which are little more than two years old could be banned from the Capital’s roads, which will put a strain on London’s supply chain and cause financial hardship for many SMEs across the region.
“FTA will continue to negotiate with the Mayor’s office to ensure that our members can keep London moving, while maintaining improvements in the Capital’s air quality.”
Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.