January 14, 2019
Southampton have decided to cancel plans for a penalty within their new clean air zone (CAZ). This news has came around after over 9,000 people signed a petition against the initial plans for a CAZ, the news signalling a win for local businesses and the Port of Southampton as pre Euro 6 vehicles will still be able to operate without significant penalties.
The local council had been instructed by the government to reduce the amount of harmful emissions that vehicles were omitting, originally proposing a clean air zone following the footsteps of other major cities within England. However, the RHA has hailed their decision to abandon these original plans.
As well as the RHA the Freight Transport Association (FTA) have been commenting on the situation saying that it would have significantly damaged the local economy and vital port, as well as failing to actually improve air quality. The proposed changes including a £100 daily fine for non-Euro 6 vehicles would have impacted thousands of businesses, in turn causing operating costs to drastically increase overnight and potentially damage people’s livelihood if these businesses cannot cope.
The logistics and transport sector recognises the significance of tackling the air quality issue that we are currently facing in the UK. However, it is vital that all operators and vehicle types are considered before implementing such heavy penalties.
There has now been a list of revised points that are going to be discussed which include:
“HGVs – Offering opportunities for businesses to assess and trial freight consolidation, thereby removing HGV trips in the city, and an accreditation scheme for HGV operators so businesses can identify those operators that are least polluting.”
This news could spark a widespread change, could we see a number of other local councils following Southampton in changing their proposed clean air zone or reducing penalties for non-compliant vehicles? Overall, the logistics and haulage industry are calling for a bit of understanding that not all operators can upgrade their vehicles in the immediate future; a compromise needs to be made so that local smaller businesses can continue to operate rather than being forced out of CAZ areas.
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