FTA hits out at Hackney Council’s upcoming introduction of Ulta-Low Emission Vehicle zone

Hackney Council’s decision to introduce an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) zone from 3 September will have a detrimental effect on local businesses and the wider Hackney community due to its effective ban on HGVs, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has warned.

Once introduced, two pedestrian and cycle zones in Hoxton and Shoreditch will only allow road access to vehicles emitting fewer than 75g CO2/km emissions, and local permit holders between the hours of 07:00-10:00 and 16:00-19:00 Monday to Friday.

Denise Beedell, policy manager for vans and urban at FTA is concerned about the impact the ULEV could have: “While FTA welcomes initiatives to reduce carbon emissions in highly-populated areas, any new scheme must be designed to reflect the needs of the area it covers,” she says. “More than 270,000 people live across the London Borough of Hackney [according to Hackney Council] and many of them are supported by the businesses based in this new zone. The local economy cannot survive without products and services, all of which are delivered to the area by goods vehicles such as vans and HGVs.

“This new scheme is effectively a ban on HGVs, given that there is currently no availability of these types of vehicles on the market or even a definition of an Ultra-Low Emission Truck. It is a real shame that Hackney Council did not engage with us at the earliest stages of developing this scheme as we could have helped them avoid these pitfalls.”

The FTA also criticised Hackney Council’s poor approach to wider stakeholder engagement. “The scheme is permanent and is the first of its kind. As such, we expected considerable stakeholder engagement to ensure the scheme is fit for purpose and can deliver its objectives,” said Beedell. “With the scheme starting within days, we call on the Council to commit to a robust monitoring and review process of the first six and 12 months of this scheme, and to make public the results without delay, so that a full and transparent assessment can be made of the scheme’s impact on the local economy.

“Logistics operators are committed to improving the air we all breathe, with the introduction of new cleaner vehicles and different types of transport modes. But nothing can be achieved unless all those in the Hackney area are tasked with reducing their emissions – as it stands, the introduction of the new zone is nothing more than a tax on the businesses which are the lifeblood of this community.”

Hackney Council consulted local residents, businesses and stakeholders about the ultra low emission streets from 19 January to 14 February 2018. Of the respondents, 56% were in favour of the scheme, 40% were opposed.

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