London freight operators could face Ultra Low Emission Zone by 2018

Freight operators working in London may face tougher emissions regulations as early as 2018 if air quality proposals from the London Assembly Environment Committee are acted upon.

London has been urged to roll-out its Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) as early as 2018, as well as mandating a minimum Euro-5 standard in the proposed T-Charge aimed at the most-polluting vehicles.

The recommendations were made in response to London mayor Sadiq Khan’s own proposals announced last month to clamp down on polluting vehicles, which seek to accelerate and expand the ULEZ and introduce fines for vehicles older than Euro-4 entering central London.

The environment committee is calling for the mayor to consider in his consultation:

  • A tighter standard for diesel vehicles (Euro-5 rather than Euro-4) in the mayor’s autumn consultation for the T-charge;
  • Earlier implementation of the ULEZ to 2018 or the beginning of 2019, from Khan’s proposed introduction of September 2019 (which was originally planned for 2020);
  • A larger zone than the proposed boundary of the North and South Circular roads should be considered and included in the final ULEZ consultation;
  • The proposed diesel scrappage scheme must move users from diesel vehicles to either walking or cycling, or much cleaner alternatives – ideally electric or hybrid vehicles or other modes of transport – rather than into other diesel vehicles that still emit dangerous levels of NOX.

Leonie Cooper, chair of the environment committee, said: “We welcome the mayor’s proposals to clean up London’s dirty air and the speed at which his action plan has been introduced.

“However, the committee has heard evidence from a range of experts who believe even greater results for Londoners can be achieved within quicker timeframes, with the introduction of further measures.”

The committee said the mayor’s plans to only fine vehicles older than Euro-4 in central London are not as strict as other global cities, such as Berlin, which has banned vehicles of this age since 2010.

Proposals to bring in the ULEZ ahead of its original 2020 roll-out have been condemned by the FTA, as this could have a significant impact on both smaller hauliers and, in particular, the van sector where Euro-6 vehicles are only just emerging to market.