Leeds Clean Air Zone plans will be “disastrous” for hauliers, says RHA

Leeds Clean Air Zone plans will be “disastrous” for hauliers, says RHA

Leeds City Council’s plans to charge non-Euro VI trucks £50 per day to enter its Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will be disastrous for hauliers and could drive them out of business, the RHA has warned. 
 
RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett said: “An average SME operator makes around £60 profit per truck, per week, so how can anyone expect them to absorb up to £350 each week to deliver the goods the city relies on?”
 
Burnett called into question the city’s claim that they could offer funding towards retrofit options for hauliers as there’s still no retrofit product on the market for trucks. 
 
A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “Leeds City Council have heard these concerns and our final proposals give operators of affected HGVs greater flexibility in how they use our financial support, worth up to £16,000. 
 
“As an alternative to using funding towards retrofit solutions—or where retrofit solutions are not yet available—operators will also be able to use support funding towards the cost of a new vehicle.
 
“Applications for funding will each be assessed on a case by case basis and all financial support is subject to government funding.
 
The RHA suggests there are other ways to reduce emissions that “avoid penalising businesses with prohibitive costs”. 
 
It points to Nottingham City Council which is reducing emissions by retrofitting buses with clean exhaust technology and bringing in stricter requirements for taxis and private hire vehicles.
 
Burnett continued: “Nottingham’s approach shows that a local authority can plan to reduce emissions by putting their faith in sustainable transport technology. Whereas, Leeds is adopting a punitive charging policy that will see hauliers go out of business.
 
“We urge Leeds to phase the implementation of the CAZ to give operators a realistic timeframe to upgrade their trucks.”
 
Councillors are expected to ratify the proposals at a meeting on Wednesday (October 17) before submitting them to the Government for approval. If approved, charging will commence on 1 January 2020.