The Government’s amendments to the road user levy charges announced recently are another step on the road to improving air quality for all of us, but at the expense of small and medium-sized businesses, which will be unfairly penalised by the changes in money payable, says the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
According to FTA, the UK’s largest membership association representing the logistics industry, the new charges place an increased burden on the small and medium sized businesses across the UK, delivering the goods and services needed to keep the economy moving:
“The reduction of 10% in the road user levy for Euro VI lorries is good news,” says Christopher Snelling, Head of UK Policy at FTA, “as it shows recognition for the success of the HGV Euro VI vehicles, which have 80% lower real world local emissions than previous lorries. However, the introduction of the increased levy on pre-Euro VI trucks will actually hurt those small and medium sized business that already face increased costs as they need to upgrade to Euro VI vehicle early to be compliant with the planned Clean Air Zones.
“It hurts them because the re-sale value of their slightly older lorries, the Euro IV and Vs, has fallen so much – making the jump to afford a new Euro VI so much greater.”
FTA believes the Government should have loaded the increase on to older and the most polluting lorries (Euro III and below) to create a short-term market for the Euro IV and V vehicles that those delivering to city centres will be seeking to sell on.
Snelling concluded: “Trucks have been getting cleaner for decades, we are not dealing with an intractable problem but merely the question of how soon do the beneficial changes come. The Government’s approach to cleaner air risks putting some smaller hauliers’ livelihoods at risk for only a temporary gain on air quality. The reform of the Levy was an opportunity to help, and for the most part the Government has failed to take it.”