UPDATED proposals for a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Newcastle will hurt local businesses while failing to provide the most effective method to improve air quality, according to the FTA.
With Newcastle City Council due to launch a public consultation into its updated plans, FTA is calling on businesses to have their say once more. Margaret Simpson, head of policy for Scotland and northern England at FTA, said: ‘We are calling for Newcastle City Council to reconsider its proposals. FTA and its members are fully committed to improving the city’s air quality, but it is unfair to place this burden solely on the shoulders of local businesses and vehicle operators; we urge Newcastle City Council to also include private cars in the zone.’
Any HGV, bus, taxi, minibus, van or private hire vehicle entering the proposed zone which does not meet the highest environmental standards: Euro 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol vehicles, will receive a charge once the scheme comes into force in 2021.
Mags Simpson continues: ‘CAZs do not provide any lasting benefit to air quality, as the Euro 6 vehicles required to enter a zone without charge will come into fleets of their own accord, as part of the natural fleet replacement cycle. In fact, by the start of 2021, FTA estimates that more than half of the UK truck fleet will already be Euro 6, meaning the scheme will soon be redundant. In the view of FTA, to secure long term air quality improvements Newcastle City Council would be better placed to focus its resources on incentivising the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles.
‘We are, however, pleased to see in the new plans that the geographical area has been significantly reduced, this will limit its impact on businesses operating in the area.