DEFRA consultation on clean air zones

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has launched a consultation that seeks views on the implementation of clean air zones in England.

In addition DEFRA has also published a draft of the clean air frameworks, as well as draft legislation and an impact assessment that outlines the impact the scheme will have on heavy goods vehicles.

DEFRA is looking for opinions on the clean air zone framework that outlines how these zones might be implemented, as well as the draft regulation that would mandate the implementation of the zones in five English cities (Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton.).

The draft clean air zone framework says: “To ensure that only the cleanest vehicles are encouraged to enter a charging Clean Air Zone, common standards need to be set for their entry. Vehicles that conform to more recent euro standards should emit less pollution than older vehicles in their class.”

The minimum euro standard of HGVs which will be allowed free entry into the zone are vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) over 3500 kg and ref. mass* over 2610kg, and gross mass weight over 5000kg – both of Euro standard Euro VI.

(Ref. mass is defined in the Euro standards as mass in running order plus 25 kg.)

The DEFRA Impact Assessment says:

“for operators of small HGV fleets, and single owner-operators, transport measures requiring them to upgrade their vehicle could pose a significant financial impact and could lead to an increase in retail prices of the goods they carry.”

Christopher Snelling, FTA head of national & regional policy said: “FTA believes that introducing this too soon, and without support, would not only impose substantial costs on the whole logistics industry, but would significantly disadvantage small businesses that use HGVs and, most especially, vans.”

“We all understand the need to continue to reduce the impact on human health of emissions, but as the proposals stand there is a real chance many small businesses will be disproportionately affected and locked out of their current work.”

The consultation runs from Thursday 13th October, until 9th December 2016.

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