The Road Haulage Association is dismayed with the London Mayor’s plan to expand the LEZ across London for HGVs from as early as October 2020, despite the sector leading the way in adopting cleaner air technologies.

More than 43% of the UK fleet would be subject to the charges at its launch – where Euro IV and V trucks will be charged £100 a day to enter the capital, and Euro III trucks and older will pay £300.

But with no commitment to reinvesting any revenue in helping the haulage industry become even greener, the RHA can only conclude that TfL is using the LEZ expansion to generate income from hauliers.

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett said: “Our sector has done a huge amount to adopt cleaner air technologies over the last few years – in fact we’ve nearly halved our NOx emissions since 2013 – and that trend is set to continue. We expect the figure will be 70% in 2021, yet the Mayor still pursues policies that ignore the progress we’re making in leading transport towards an emissions-free future.”

What’s not clear is how forcing hauliers out of London is going to make the air any cleaner – the RHA believes the opposite will happen.

“Where’s the incentive for operators to continue delivering in London if all but Euro VI trucks will be charged huge amounts to enter the capital?” asks Richard Burnett. “Many hauliers will be priced out of delivering in the capital – and some may even be driven out of business – so suppliers will turn to vans instead. This will mean more congestion on London’s roads which means more pollution. So it’s not clear how the LEZ extension – and indeed the premature introduction of ULEZ next April – is going to make London’s air any cleaner in the short term.

“What we need is the sensible phasing in of these schemes that will allow hauliers to replace their fleets to more realistic timeframes – not punishing policies that will put many SMEs in jeopardy.”