A GREEN FUTURE FOR THE MIDLANDS

Good news – our air quality is going to get better.  Actually, it is already getting better, and has been for decades.  And if we do nothing at this point, it will continue to get better in the future.  However, all the time we are discovering in more detail just how much impact on human health emissions do have, and so cleaning our air even faster has become a political priority. That and a legal one as the Government is in breach of its air quality requirements.

This is what brings us to Clean Air Zones (CAZs).  These schemes impose a charge on any vehicle entering an applicable city which does not meet the certain emissions standards, which are Euro VI or 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol vehicles. All new vehicles produced in the UK meet these standards, but in some cases (ie vans) only for the last two years.

Out of the five cities mandated by the government to introduce these Zones, three are in the Midlands: Birmingham, Derby and Nottingham. The remaining cities are Southampton and Leeds, and it’s expected many others will follow.

The three Zones in the Midlands – if they are approved to go ahead – are expected to come into force in late 2019, with more precise dates to be determined. While FTA supports the improvement in cities’ air quality, CAZ only have a temporary benefit at a potential cost of much disruption to local businesses – as far as possible the Zones must be designed with the needs of local businesses and freight operators in mind.

The impact of the CAZs must not be underestimated. In Birmingham, the charge is expected to apply to 60% of all vehicles driving through the city centre. The proposed charges for non-compliant vehicles entering the Zone are: £50 – £100 for buses, coaches, lorries and HGVs, £6–£12.50 for taxis and private hire cars and £6–£10 for private cars. FTA is pleased to see the A4540 is the Zone’s proposed boundary; this concentrates the implications of the scheme on the city centre rather than wider region.

FTA has submitted its recommendations to Birmingham City Council, which includes a request for well-placed signage beyond the city centre to re-direct through-traffic away from the charging Zone covering strategic routes, and the allowance of exempted routes out of the zone for businesses and key sites already established within the boundary.

The picture in Nottingham is different. While it also struggles with poor air quality, Nottingham City Council is campaigning against the government’s mandate, claiming it can sufficiently improve air quality with a selection of other measures, without the need for a CAZ. These measures include investing in green public transport, for example, retrofitting buses with cleaner exhaust technology. Derby has options for a smaller or larger CAZ, which could be very disruptive. It remains to be seen whether the government will agree to each cities’ strategy, or whether it will seek quicker or tougher measures.

The nationwide picture of CAZs is fragmented and complex. Use of them should be minimised as much as possible.  FTA has also requested the Zones are consistent with schemes in other cities; harmonisation and uniformity are key in ensuring the smooth adoption and upkeep of these schemes.

FTA speaks on behalf of the industry and has voiced its recommendation that the three schemes are delayed to October 2020 to coincide with the introduction of other environmentally friendly initiatives, namely the Ultra Low Emission Zone and the Direct Vision Standard in London.

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.

Christopher Snelling, Head of UK Policy, FTA  

Good news – our air quality is going to get better.  Actually, it is already getting better, and has been for decades.  And if we do nothing at this point, it will continue to get better in the future.  However, all the time we are discovering in more detail just how much impact on human health emissions do have, and so cleaning our air even faster has become a political priority. That and a legal one as the Government is in breach of its air quality requirements.

This is what brings us to Clean Air Zones (CAZs).  These schemes impose a charge on any vehicle entering an applicable city which does not meet the certain emissions standards, which are Euro VI or 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol vehicles. All new vehicles produced in the UK meet these standards, but in some cases (ie vans) only for the last two years.

Out of the five cities mandated by the government to introduce these Zones, three are in the Midlands: Birmingham, Derby and Nottingham. The remaining cities are Southampton and Leeds, and it’s expected many others will follow.

The three Zones in the Midlands – if they are approved to go ahead – are expected to come into force in late 2019, with more precise dates to be determined. While FTA supports the improvement in cities’ air quality, CAZ only have a temporary benefit at a potential cost of much disruption to local businesses – as far as possible the Zones must be designed with the needs of local businesses and freight operators in mind.

The impact of the CAZs must not be underestimated. In Birmingham, the charge is expected to apply to 60% of all vehicles driving through the city centre. The proposed charges for non-compliant vehicles entering the Zone are: £50 – £100 for buses, coaches, lorries and HGVs, £6–£12.50 for taxis and private hire cars and £6–£10 for private cars. FTA is pleased to see the A4540 is the Zone’s proposed boundary; this concentrates the implications of the scheme on the city centre rather than wider region.

FTA has submitted its recommendations to Birmingham City Council, which includes a request for well-placed signage beyond the city centre to re-direct through-traffic away from the charging Zone covering strategic routes, and the allowance of exempted routes out of the zone for businesses and key sites already established within the boundary.

The picture in Nottingham is different. While it also struggles with poor air quality, Nottingham City Council is campaigning against the government’s mandate, claiming it can sufficiently improve air quality with a selection of other measures, without the need for a CAZ. These measures include investing in green public transport, for example, retrofitting buses with cleaner exhaust technology. Derby has options for a smaller or larger CAZ, which could be very disruptive. It remains to be seen whether the government will agree to each cities’ strategy, or whether it will seek quicker or tougher measures.

The nationwide picture of CAZs is fragmented and complex. Use of them should be minimised as much as possible.  FTA has also requested the Zones are consistent with schemes in other cities; harmonisation and uniformity are key in ensuring the smooth adoption and upkeep of these schemes.

FTA speaks on behalf of the industry and has voiced its recommendation that the three schemes are delayed to October 2020 to coincide with the introduction of other environmentally friendly initiatives, namely the Ultra Low Emission Zone and the Direct Vision Standard in London.

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.

Christopher Snelling, Head of UK Policy, FTA  

2019-01-04T10:15:33+00:00October 19th, 2018|Categories: Midlands|
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