20 February 2020
Several years ago, government devolved responsibility for air quality to local authorities by giving them the power to set up Clean Air Zones. Giving these bodies the means to tackle pollution as it occurs in their area with some funding and within a framework appeared to be the pragmatic solution.
However, in reality each local authority is addressing the issue in a different way, some attempting to stray outside central guidelines, by for example arbitrarily banning diesel vehicles. The result is we now have across the UK a potential patchwork quilt of rules, regulations and charging rates that are so confusing for vehicle operators they are delaying purchasing new vehicles.
Therefore, it is welcome that following the re-formation of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Road Freight and Logistics, the group is now calling for evidence to its first inquiry of the new Parliament: the impact of Clean Air Zones (CAZ) on the haulage and logistics sector.
The group have outlined a series of questions focused on the impact of these zones on the road freight sector, the approach taken by local authorities and whether national government has provided enough support for affected businesses.
Vehicle manufacturers and operators are investing vast sums in new, cleaner technologies to help meet environmental and air quality goals. However, to support this fleet renewal we need a more cohesive solution than the current CAZ regime and SMMT will be responding to the call for evidence accordingly.