RHA Slams ineffective Clean Air Zones

The RHA is calling for the Government to reform its clean air zone (CAZ) policy as matter of urgency.

Responding to the APPG for Road Freight & Logistics inquiry into Clean Air Zones, the RHA condemned the current approach as expensive, inflexible and ineffective.

Criticising the adverse impact of it has on the resale values of non-EuroVI trucks, RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett said: “We all want clean air, but the right policies are needed to achieve it without damaging business. We have consistently pointed out the flaws with the current approach but this seems to have fallen on deaf ears within Government.

“The current policy is seeing hard-working and long-established firms go out-of-business. There are better ways forward. Of course we want to decarbonise our industry but it is vital that Ministers and policymakers learn lessons so that the right framework is in place to address climate change. It must also supports jobs and economic growth.

“With as much as £1.2bn wiped off the value of the EuroV fleet, CAZ is a grievous body-blow for hauliers. If this wasn’t bad enough, we see the policy as being counterproductive as more vans transport the freight otherwise carried by non-compliant lorries. This will lead to more congestion and a corresponding rise in emissions.”

The RHA has an alternative, smarter solution where all this pain can be avoided. As an immediate first step, the RHA is calling for the Government to amend the policy framework by introducing “intelligent phasing” to negate the “stranded asset” effect.

Failure to do so will see SME operators going out of business and price rises for consumers.

Medium-term, when heavy duty vehicles – HGVs & buses – account for just 5% of total NOx emissions, the RHA urges the Government to redesign the policy framework with a more proportionate response that targets the most-polluting vehicles across all vehicle types.