In response to the announcement made that the operating hours of the London Congestion Charge will increase significantly from 22 June 2020 and logistics businesses will face a significant hike in the charge, Natalie Chapman, Head of Urban Policy at FTA, comments:
“Logistics businesses have been working tirelessly to deliver the food, medical supplies and other essential items the capital needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension of the Congestion Charge back in March 2020 was extremely welcome in helping operators focus on dealing with the crisis. However, to reward this hard work – completed under very challenging circumstances – with such abrupt and significant changes to the London Congestion Charge is extremely disappointing to FTA and its members. Like many other sectors, logistics is suffering financially from the pandemic – 76% of respondents to FTA’s own industry survey report a general business downturn – and as a sector has a long road to economic recovery ahead; increasing the scheme’s rates and extending its operating hours so abruptly will be detrimental to this recovery process. While FTA understands the financial pressures TfL is currently facing and supports the broad intention behind the scheme – to manage congestion and improve air quality in the capital by incentivising active travel over vehicle use – logistics businesses have little alternative but to drive in London to meet the delivery needs of consumers and businesses, so this simply amounts to a tax on deliveries.
“FTA is also disappointed by the lack of consultation on such a significant decision, and, although the changes are only temporary, TfL has given no concrete indication of how long they will last. Permanent implementation should be out of the question.”
FTA is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With COVID-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. FTA supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.