The Road Haulage Association hails Southampton City Council’s decision to abandon plans to charge hauliers to enter a clean air zone ‘a victory for common sense’.

The local authority had been instructed by the Government to tackle harmful emissions and announced plans to introduce a CAZ where pre-Euro 6 lorries would be charged £100 per day to enter.

But it has scrapped the plan following a public consultation and relentless lobbying by the RHA and concerned hauliers. Instead it is proposing other measures to curb excessive emissions.

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett says it’sa massive win for the industry and will come as a huge relief to hauliers who operate in the city.

“Southampton has made the right decision dropping a charging CAZ scheme that would have put businesses and livelihoods at risk.

“This sends out a clear message to town halls across the country that CAZ schemes area flawed concept – they’re short-sighted and anti-business. This is a victory for common sense.”

The FTA also added that the rejection of a charging CAZ in Southampton was a boost to the port as well as local businesses.

Rebecca Kite, Environmental Policy Manager at the FTA said: “While the logistics sector is fully committed to reducing its environmental impact, it is of the upmost importance that any air quality scheme reflects the unique needs of each place.

“The proposed charging CAZ would have brought thousands of businesses and operations into its scope, causing operating costs to soar and irrevocably damaging its local economy.

“Most worryingly, the bustling Port of Southampton, which is UK’s second largest container terminal, would have been included in the Zone.”

She added continued: “This is extremely positive news for local businesses and those regularly using the port.

“The decision recognises the importance commercial vehicles play in keeping the city’s economy thriving – delivering the goods and services businesses need to operate – and the FTA is pleased these vehicles are not in line to receive heavy fines.

“The FTA is looking forward to working with the council to develop a series of non- charging measures. While the logistics sector recognises the role it must play in improving air quality, it is important that all types of vehicles are taken into consideration when designing an air quality plan.”

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