Rethink clear air zones, says RHA

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The Road Haulage Association says that the government needs to rethink its approach on improving air quality as it is failing to deliver on its own policies.

Leeds and Birmingham City Councils have both announced that the launch of their 2020 clean air zones have been ‘significantly postponed’, blaming government delays in delivering key digital. New dates have yet to be announced.

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett believes the government needs to encourage local authorities to look at congestion-easing measures if they’re serious about reducing emissions.

“It’s time for a rethink on improving air quality. Clean air zones will prove ineffective if they keep disproportionately targeting HGVs while ignoring other factors and vehicle types,” he said. “Their delays in getting the technology ready postpones the arrival of enforceable zones in two key cities, but for operators facing the prospect of £50 per day charges it’s a delay, not a reprieve.”

Likewise, the Freight Transport Association believes that the decision by Leeds and Birmingham Councils to delay the start of their Clean Air Zones was the only step available to them, and the right thing to do.

Head of UK policy Christopher Snelling said: “You cannot start a regulation without a reliable way to comply with it in place and tested – there is simply too much chance that things launched at the very last minute will go wrong, leading to chaos for HGV and van operators serving these two major cities”

“Whether you support CAZs or not, we can all agree that regulations must have the systems in place to make them work. Leeds and Birmingham have done the right thing, indeed they are taking the only course of action available to them”

“Government needs to develop these systems asap and demonstrate they are reliable and accurate – only then should Councils definitively commit to start dates for any Clean Air Zones.”