One of the UK's largest business groups, The Freight Transport Association (FTA), has spoken out against Hackney Council's decision to introduce an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) zone from 3 September 2018, citing the detrimental effect a ban on goods vehicles will have on local businesses and the wider Hackney community.
Once introduced, two pedestrian and cycle zones in Hoxton and Shoreditch will only allow road access to vehicles emitting fewer than 75g CO2/km emissions, known as ULEVs, and local permit holders between the hours of 07:00 - 10:00 and 16:00 - 19:00 Monday to Friday.
Denise Beedell, Policy Manager for Vans and Urban at FTA is concerned that the scheme is ill considered and will have a direct impact on the community as well as local businesses: "While FTA welcomes initiatives to reduce carbon emissions in highly-populated areas, any new scheme must be designed to reflect the needs of the area it covers. More than 270,000 people live across the London Borough of Hackney* and many of them are supported by the businesses based in this new zone. The local economy cannot survive without products and services, all of which are delivered to the area by goods vehicles such as vans and HGVs.
"This new scheme is effectively a ban on HGVs, given that there is currently no availability of these types of vehicles on the market or even a definition of an Ultra-Low Emission Truck (ULET). It is a real shame that Hackney Council did not engage with us at the earliest stages of developing this scheme as we could have helped them avoid these pitfalls."
FTA criticises Hackney Council's poor approach to wider stakeholder engagement, as Denise Beedell continues: "The scheme is permanent and is the first of its kind. As such, we expected considerable stakeholder engagement to ensure the scheme is fit for purpose and can deliver its objectives. With the scheme starting within days, we call on the Council to commit to a robust monitoring and review process of the first six and 12 months of this scheme, and to make public the results without delay, so that a full and transparent assessment can be made of the scheme's impact on the local economy.
"Logistics operators are committed to improving the air we all breathe, with the introduction of new cleaner vehicles and different types of transport modes. But nothing can be achieved unless all those in the Hackney area are tasked with reducing their emissions - as it stands, the introduction of the new zone is nothing more than a tax on the businesses which are the lifeblood of this community."
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.
* according to a report by Hackney Council