Hauliers are furious after Southampton City Council officials have gone back on a commitment to speak to them about the city’s controversial clean air plans.
The local authority had agreed to meet with operators at a Road Haulage Association regional council meeting on Monday 24 September. But they’ve now declined, claiming that they won’t be speaking to stakeholder groups about clean air plans until after a public consultation report has been published.
Officials had previously failed to meet hauliers at an RHA meeting in June to discuss the proposals, which include charging lorries to enter a clean air zone.
RHA regional operations manager, Rhys Williams believes this latest snub reinforces fears that Southampton City Council doesn’t take hauliers’ concerns seriously.
He said: “It’s frustrating that the council can show so much disrespect and contempt towards hauliers who are worried about the impact a CAZ would have on their future.
“How can we have confidence in what the council says when they won’t even keep a simple promise to come to a meeting to hear our members concerns?”
The RHA has responded to the council’s consultation and opposes plans to charge lorries £100 a day to enter a CAZ. It believes the plans would put small operators at risk and points to Derby and Nottingham’s adoption of cleaner air technologies as more realistic approaches to tackling emissions.
Rhys Williams concluded: “The council has dismissed our members once again which begs the question whether they have any interest in the future of the local hauliers who deliver goods and services that Southampton relies on.”