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I need to let you know about a serious and urgent problem for my business and staff that will be caused if the current proposals for charges for Euro V (and older) lorries is introduced in Southampton City as planned. We do not think the people proposing this understand the catastrophic problems this will cause my business and many others.
Our company is a small haulage operator based in Cowes, Isle of Wight. We operate ten HGV vehicles of which only two are Euro VI, the rest being Euro IV and V.
Like many other operators we use older vehicles for my business which is focussed on moving cosmetic goods and export cases etc manufactured on the Island, returning with everything from food stuffs to building materials etc.
Council’s plan to charge
Southampton City Council is proposing to charge us £100 per day to use my vehicles from, I believe, January 2020.
At that time my vehicles will be so expensive to use that they will be so uneconomic unless we can get them adapted to Euro VI (which we cannot as there is NO economic retrofit option).
Not enough Euro VI lorries to meet demand
We cannot afford to upgrade the vehicles immediately as the cost difference between Euro IV/V lorries and Euro VI lorries is now so great. We are told that at the end of 2019 that half the lorries in the UK will still not be Euro VI, that means that there will not be enough Euro VI lorries to meet demand.
Treating cleaner Euro V and Euro IV lorries the same as dirtier Euro III and earlier lorries means that air quality will not really improve.
If the current plan goes ahead as proposed, we will have to stop serving the Southampton area as customers are not going to be willing to pay the extra.
Targeting the wrong people
Local Authorities are missing the point by charging essential haulage operations and not those causing congestion. Lorries are not the major cause of road caused local pollution anyway – which is caused mostly by vans, cars and busses and the congestion they cause.
Charging lorries will see a move to Van’s and cars, causing more congestion and making air quality worse.
We believe that the Government should amend current clean air zone strategy so that haulage operators can phase out older vehicles. Euro V should be the baseline until at least 2024, with lower charges for Euro IV until 2022, enabling a phased upgrade program.
26 other EU cities have been given until 2025 to implement this, why is the UK trying to make it earlier as by then natural ongoing renewal of the fleet will have brought most vehicles up-to Euro V1 standards by then.
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