The new London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has come in to force and I have mixed views on it, says Truckstop News editor, Pip Dunn. Yes, we need to tackle air pollution, and the ULEZ will help in that, but we need to help hauliers continue to trade and not force them out of business or saddle them with costs they cannot bear.

Most companies have embraced low- emission trucks, but the issue they have is the improvements in emission reductions – and the legislation – comes in in less time than the truck’s working life.

It’s been five years since Euro6 came in, and so a brand new Euro6 truck is not even halfway through what can realistically be expected to be its working life – typically 12 years.

If someone buys a new Euro6 truck now, then it could be 2031 before it comes to the end of its life – what will have by then? Euro7? Euro 8? Who knows? I don’t!

Penalising hauliers to enter London using trucks older than five years seems draconian and illogical. These hauliers should have been able to apply for an exemption.

Ironically, while not many hauliers are still using Euro4 trucks, or older, but there are still thousands of Euro 5 trucks, some only five to six years old.

Why should these trucks be barred from London unless they pay an extortionate fine? And it is a fine, it’s not a levy or exemption charge, it’s a fine.

I’m with the RHA and the FTA when they highlight that efficient logistics is the lifeblood of an efficient society.

New trucks cost a lot to buy and accordingly you need to get value out of them and that means working them hard.

Many operators simply cannot afford to upgrade their vehicles every three, four or five years.

Sadly, it’s too late for the London ULEZ to be reversed, but there should have been a better policy on its implementation.

A graded levy perhaps, so non-euro trucks pay the £100, Euro 1/2 pay £75, Euro 3/4 trucks pay £50, Euro5 pay £20 and Euro6 are levy-free. There should also be exemptions for classic trucks used for only for show or promotional use.

That way, the haulier still using a Euro 3 truck who occasionally goes into London pays £50. If they go regularly, then that is when they need to look at trading in their old truck.

The problem with the ULEZ is it will make Euro5 trucks worthless for anyone operating into the capital yet
these trucks are still good, have a good life left in them and are not that polluting.

The main issue is we are going to see more LEZs and even ULEZs elsewhere in the UK, and while that is good, they need to be announced in good time to allow proper and constructive consultation, enable the road haulage industry to invest accordingly, and ensure that hauliers are not priced out of the places they need to deliver to.


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