Suggestions from Bristol City Council that it plans to charge hauliers to enter a clean air zone (CAZ) have not been well received by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) which notes that all lorries face bans from a number of main roads and pre-Euro VI trucks will face £100 daily charges.

This will force firms with lorries registered as late as 2013 to choose between prematurely replacing their fleets, paying the crippling charges or going out of business, the RHA points out.

Its policy advocate for environment and regulation, Chris Ashley, described Bristol’s plans as punitive and said a phased approach to CAZ charging — focusing on the oldest, most polluting vehicles — would be more likely to improve air quality while safeguarding local businesses.

“Given that it takes 12 large vans to carry the same load as a single 44-tonne lorry,” he went on, “it stands to reason that pricing trucks out of Bristol could spark an increase in congestion and poor air quality.”

His views were echoed by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) Policy Manager for the South West of England, Chris Yarsley, who said that messages surrounding the plans from the Council are confused and misleading.

“While the official documentation states the diesel ban plan will only include diesel cars,” he pointed out, “media reports have referred to it as a blanket diesel vehicle ban.”

This would have a massive impact on local businesses, Mr Yarsley continued, and they must be given clear direction and adequate time to prepare.

Both organisations stress that they support the Council’s aim to improve air quality but both are demanding greater clarity and a better understanding of the problems local hauliers will face.

The local authority has still to receive the Government’s go ahead for its plans.

Last reviewed 20 November 2019