The Road Haulage Association has complained that the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in London is going to damage the economy. Regulations like these are designed to improve the quality of life (and the economy) for those in the city and should drive forward the use of better trucks that are more cycle friendly. While it will cause short term pain the ULEZ should drive long term gain for everyone affected.
While touching on the issues raised by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) we’ll look at the alternatives to dirty diesel trucks that are about to hit the road that will all make cyclists’ lives a lot safer…
The RHA has said that the new ULEZ, that will charge £100 a day for trucks that don’t meet the Euro VI pollution standards from April 2019, will harm the economy. Chief Executive Richard Burnett complained, “The trucks being penalised are responsible for delivering London’s economy, they fill London’s shelves with food and the other goods we depend on”.
Isn’t the economy reliant on clean air?
If people are choking to death and being made seriously ill then the economy isn’t serving everyone in the way that it should. The economy serves us, not us serving it, right? In 2015, the Guardian reported that up to 9,500 people are dying every year due to pollution. Those from outside London always comment on the black bogeys they get in their noses after visiting the place. Nose mucus is our first line of defence against inhaling fumes like that.
New trucks ready to go
While those living in ‘The Smoke’ have long had to contend with the fumes as part of life in London, regulations have been put in place over the years to tackle the pollution problem. Electric vehicles (EVs) are getting to the point that soon they will be of a similar cost to that of diesel and petrol powered cars. And, yes, this applies to trucks that ‘fill London’s shelves with food’, too.
A new electric vehicle HGV manufacturing company based in Banbury called Arrival has recently started a pilot with Royal Mail to test a number of midweight electric delivery vehicles. Arrival say in their press release, their “trucks also meet new EV legislation globally including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s new “Direct Vision Standard” for lorries, helping to make London’s streets significantly safer for pedestrians and cyclists.” These are built with cyclists’ safety in mind. The vehicles are priced to compete with fossil fuel trucks of a similar payload too. While with a range of 100 miles you won’t see Arrival HGVs on the M1 heading for Manchester anytime soon, certainly for inner London deliveries the kit is ready to go.
Other HGV manufacturers are live testing fleets of EV HGVs. Mitsubishi Fuso and Daimler Benz are doing this right now. As to white vans? There’s to be legislation change soon that allows for EV vans to have heavier axle weights to carry a similar payload to their fossil fuel equivalents. Again, the companies such as DHL are aiming to sell them at a similar price to dirty diesels.
There’s no reason to oppose about the ULEZ from an economic standpoint and its clear that the environmental and safety benefits far outweigh the charge.
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