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Sadiq Khan’s air quality tax plans ‘will increase burden on business exponentially’ warns Kent-based Freight Transport Association

PUBLISHED: 12:36 05 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:37 05 April 2017

Large quantities of freight traffic access the capital by travelling through the county

Sadiq Khan’s plans to introduce a ‘toxin tax’ in the capital within two years threatens the future of freight businesses located in, and travelling through, Kent, an association has warned.

The mayor this week announced the most-polluting vehicles will have to pay a daily charge to drive within an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London from April 8, 2019 as part of a move to improve air quality in the south east.

And he is proposing to expand the ULEZ across greater London for heavy diesel vehicles, including buses, coaches and lorries, in 2020, and up to the North and South Circular roads for cars and vans in 2021, which often serves commuters from north Kent and the boroughs of Bromley and Bexley.

Under the plans, which went out to consultation this week, petrol vehicles that don’t meet Euro 4 standards and diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 6 standards will have to pay a ULEZ daily fee to drive in the zone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The fee for cars, vans and motorbikes will be £12.50, while buses, coaches and HGVs will have to pay £100.

Petrol cars more than 13 years old in 2019, and diesel cars more than 4 years old in 2019, will not meet the new standards and the total cost, including the congestion charge when applicable, for motorists with non-compliant cars will be £24 a day.

Large quantities of freight traffic access the capital by travelling through Kent, having crossed the Channel from Europe.

The Tunbridge Wells-based Freight Transport Association warned last year Mr Khan’s plans could prove devastating to small firms and it has again raised concerns this week.

“The impact will be especially hard for van users, as by 2019 there will only be two and a half years’ worth of compliant vehicles in the fleet – and no second hand compliant vehicles available for purchase at all,” said head of policy for London and the south east, Natalie Chapman.

On the expansion of the zone to the South Circular, she added: “It is encouraging that this is not happening in 2019 as had been suggested.

“This shows the Mayor has listened to some of the concerns that had been raised.

“But the expansions of the zone will still increase the burden on business exponentially.

“We are calling for businesses based in the affected area to have access to a sunset clause, such as has been offered to private residents, allowing them greater time to comply with the change required without the need for unnecessary and potentially crippling additional charges for new vehicles.”

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