The updated plans for a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Newcastle will hurt local businesses while failing to provide the most effective method to improve air quality, according to FTA, the voice of the logistics industry.
With Newcastle City Council due to a launch a public consultation into its updated plans in late September 2019, FTA is calling on businesses to have their say once more. Margaret Simpson, Head of Policy for Scotland & Northern England at FTA, comments: “As the voice of the UK logistics sector, FTA is calling for Newcastle City Council to reconsider its proposals. 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.”
Any bus, HGV, taxi, minibus, van, or private hire vehicle entering the proposed Zone which does not meet the highest environmental standards – Euro VI or 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol vehicles – will receive a charge once the scheme comes into force in 2021.
Miss Simpson continues: “CAZs do not provide any lasting benefit to air quality, 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. 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, however, pleased to see in the new plans that the geographical area has been significantly reduced, this will limit its impact on businesses operating in the area. 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.”
Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With 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. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.