Last week’s flurry of clean air zone (CAZ) announcements from major UK cities has left logistics operators in no doubt that the clock is ticking for Euro-5 lorries in urban areas.

Birmingham and Southampton released their proposals for the first time and both require Euro-6 HGVs or a daily fee of up to £100 (charge to be set following consultation).

Leeds City Council moved its CAZ plans a step forward: while still requiring Euro-6 lorries, it has taken feedback from industry and halved its proposed charge to £50 a day for older HGVs, and reduced the size of its charging area.

The regional city announcements follow hot on the heels of London’s confirmation earlier this month that it would require Euro-6 lorries across the whole of Greater London by October 2020.

Duncan Buchanan, head of policy at the RHA, told MT: “We are disappointed that people are still not listening to the realities that the road haulage industry is facing: having to adapt at short notice in a way that is actually impossible.

“There is no retrofit available, half the lorries in the country are not going to be compliant and there are not enough Euro-6 vehicles to do the work. The fundamentals of charging all non-Euro-6 lorries the same is a huge flaw. We need proper phasing for Euro-5s.”

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For example, RHA suggests that Euro-5 trucks are not charged until 2024, but if they were to come into scope before this, only a minor fee should be applied, such as £10 per day.

This would help keep the second-hand market buoyant for Euro-5s, which have seen values plummet because of CAZ requirements, while used Euro-6 models can charge a premium.

Bradford-based Freightlink Europe partner Lesley O’Brien said: “We want a more staged approach where maybe they will be more lenient with regards to Euro-5. Of our fleet, 80% will not be affected, so we may be able to work around this.

“This is an intelligent approach, so don’t kill the industry that is keeping the UK economy alive and putting goods on the shelf.”

Bibby Distribution head of fleet and procurement Adam Purshall said: “The concern we have, along with most operators, is just around the complexity and administration of managing all these CAZs.


"They all want something slightly different, varying requirements and it’s about the compliance and monitoring to adhere to them.”

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