The Freight Transport Association is urging van operators to have their say on updated Clean Air Zone plans for Newcastle as it calls for the plans to be widened to private cars too.
Due to go under public consultation shortly, the final Clean Air Zone plans from Newcastle, North Tyneside and Gateshead – revealed earlier this month – would see a Class C charging CAZ implemented in 2021, bringing charges for vans from the outset but not private car drivers.
According to the FTA, the updated proposals will hurt local businesses while failing to provide the most effective method to improve air quality.
Margaret Simpson, head of policy for Scotland & Northern England at FTA, said: “FTA and its members are fully committed to improving the city’s air quality, but it is unfair to place this burden solely on the shoulders of local businesses and vehicle operators; we urge Newcastle City Council to include private cars in the Zone. After all, the logistics sector is the lifeblood of the city, providing businesses, schools and hospitals with the goods they need to operate.”
Simpson added: “CAZs do not provide any lasting benefit to air quality, as the Euro 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. In fact, by the start of 2021, FTA estimates that more than half of the UK truck fleet will already be Euro VI, meaning the scheme will soon be redundant. In the view of FTA, to secure long-term air quality improvements Newcastle City Council would be better placed to focus its resources on incentivising the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles.
“We are calling on anyone who will be affected by the zone to submit their response to the updated plans; do not miss this chance to have your say.”