The FTA has urged TfL to create immediate incentives for greener freight vehicles, such as a reduced Congestion Charge,  if it wants to accelerate its vision of London becoming the ultra-low-emission vehicle capital of Europe.

Speaking after TfL's launch of its Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle delivery plan this week, FTA climate change policy manager Rachael Dillon said the right incentives were needed to get the freight industry on board as the plan had huge cost implications for the sector.

“Low-emission vehicles can offer fantastic benefits to helping the freight sector play its role in reducing pollutants and carbon, but high vehicle costs, concerns over reliability and lack of public refuelling infrastructure means that uptake remains relatively small,” she said.

The FTA said the announcement was a key opportunity for both TfL and the government to provide further incentives to enable fleet operators to make a business case for these alternative fuels and technologies. “Why wait? This could be done straight away to improve air quality,” Dillon added.

Within TfL's 15-point action plan to deliver ULEVs in the capital, it aims to increase the uptake in freight and fleet operations. This includes the launch of a new Low Emission Commercial Vehicle Programme this summer, which FTA will participate in. The programme intends to accelerate the development and supply and widen the uptake of low-emission commercial vehicles and refuelling infrastructure.

The FTA said since the phasing out of The Alternative Fuel Discount in 2010, the only discounts available on the Congestion Charge have been for cleaner cars, with no incentives to encourage investment in cleaner commercial vehicles.

Dillon said: “Many fleets are already operating Euro-6 HGVs ahead of the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone from 2020.  The right incentives could mean that fleets move their newest and cleanest vehicles to the capital, giving those living and working in central London some of the benefits of ULEZ straight away.”

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