The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has welcomed the publication of the Road Freight APPG on Clean Air Zones report that concludes that Clean Air Zones are a case of “right policy, wrong approach”.
Noting the reports of changed travel patterns during the Covid-19 pandemic, APPG Chair, Sir Mike Penning MP, has urged the Government to “pause and reflect” on how to tackle air quality and ensure that no charging zones are introduced until 1 January 2022.
Chris Ashley, RHA head of policy on the environment commented: “The RHA has consistently said that better ways exist to achieve the clean air we all want.
“The current CAZ approach fails to recognise the industry’s huge £1.9bn investment in Euro VI vehicles that, despite CAZ, has slashed NOx emissions from trucks by at least 59 percent since 2013. It also fails to account for the market supply of the desired Euro VI vehicles which, during the 2nd quarter of 2020, plummeted by 75% as Covid-19 hit the economy.
“To press ahead with CAZ as if nothing has happened is madness. It unfairly targets HGVs, and the Government must urgently review both its evidence-base and approach before proceeding.”
The RHA is clear that the way forward is for investment in vehicle emission standards, supported by regulation that recognises vehicle lifecycles of at least 12 years.
With the news this week that the economy has suffered its worst slump in 300 years, the Government must take a more sustainable approach to goods moving around the country – one which recognises that environmental and social wellbeing depends on economic wellbeing.