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Congestion charge hike ‘an unfair tax’ says FTA

29 May 2014 #CV Sector #Logistics #News #Policy #Truck #Van

The 17% increase in the London Congestion Charge for companies on the fleet scheme, announced by Transport for London (TfL) yesterday, is an unfair tax on businesses that have no option other than to use the city’s roads and is higher than the increase for casual users, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Policy for London, said, “Commercial vehicles making essential deliveries, such as keeping the capital’s shelves stocked and supplying London’s hospitals should be exempt from the Congestion Charge.  But not only are they forced to pay to use the road network in Central London, they have now been unfairly clobbered with a bigger rise than casual users of the scheme.”

FTA supports the aim of the Congestion Charge in deterring discretionary or non-essential journeys where the individual has the option to choose an alternative time or mode of travel in order to reduce congestion, CO2 emissions and improve air quality.  But it is not feasible to deliver goods on public transport, nor are alternative modes practical for the door-to-door deliveries that central London requires.

Additionally, there are no charge-free breaks in the daytime to encourage deliveries to be made outside of rush hour.  Prior to the Congestion Charge starting at 07:00 Monday to Friday, the movements of heavy goods vehicles are restricted by the London Lorry Control Scheme (LLCS) – also known as the ‘London Lorry Ban’.  The LLCS then starts again at 21:00, leaving only three non-restricted hours a day in central London from 18:00 to 21:00 and only Saturday mornings at weekends.  Clearly this is not enough to support the capital’s needs for goods deliveries.

Chapman added, “The logistics industry helped TfL to deliver a successful Olympics and a big part of the Games legacy for our industry has been a greater recognition of the essential role we play in keeping London fed and watered.  So we are particularly disappointed that we face such a steep rise in the cost of supporting London’s economy.”

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