Bristol Clean Air Zone - An Industry in 'Outrage'!
Euro VI compliant truck with drivenmedia advertising curtains

Following approval of Bristol Council’s proposal for a Clean Air Zone on Tuesday, DrivenMedia takes a brief look at the impact of the scheme. 

Implementation of the scheme would mean that from March 2021, all private diesel vehicles will be banned from a City Centre Zone between peak hours, while a wider zone would see charges for non-compliant buses, taxis, HGVs and LGVs.

The scheme will see Bristol being the first city in the UK to implement a full ban, with the aim of meeting the UK and EU standards for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) air limits. Bristol is just one of many cities in the UK failing to meet the standards, with the EU Court of Auditors stating last year that despite legislation being in place for 20 years, “European citizens still breathe harmful air mostly due to weak legislation and poor policy implementation.” 

There is no doubt, of course, that any measures to improve the air we breathe and reduce related illnesses are a good thing for us and the environment.

However, the plans have had an unfortunate response, with both environmental activists and haulage companies disappointed with the way the scheme has been designed.

Eleanor Combley, leader of Bristol’s Green Councillor Group gave the proposal a fairly tepid welcome, writing for  “Despite all its flaws, the council’s plan is better than doing nothing…But until Bristol takes serious action to join up climate, health and transport issues like this, air pollution and congestion will continue to blight our city and our health.”

The haulage and transport industry have a more passionate response, with Handy Shipping Guide describing an industry in ‘Outrage’ over the ‘Punitive, Naive and Unfair’ proposal. Objections centre around the lack of detail in the proposals and lack of thought regarding the wider-reaching impact. 

There appears to be little consideration given to mitigating the impact economically – keeping the local economy moving if firms are forced to choose between delivering to Bristol City Centre businesses or saving £100 a day in charges. Or, indeed, financially for hauliers. While private vehicles will be able to take advantage of scrappage schemes, and public transport firms will have access to government funding, there is, as yet, nothing in place for private firms.

For those concerned, there is still time for consultation before the full business case is presented next year. Clean Air for Bristol reports that the City Council will continue to work with the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) and will “engage with business, organisations and residents affected to help manage how the Clean Air and Diesel Ban areas can be implemented, including details of mitigations measures and exemptions.”

DrivenMedia is conscious of the impact of our business on the environment. We are working on a number of initiatives including policies relating to Euro VI standard trucks and recycling our curtain-sides (we turn them into handbags!) We whole-heartedly agree that a collaborative and meaningful plan must be implemented if there is to be any relevant impact on the clean air statistics.

But we need a plan that also includes the impact on the local economy, community well-being, and examines the impact on local industry. There is no doubt that implementing such an all-encompassing scheme in such a short time frame could be disastrous for many hauliers – both locally and nationally. The cost implications of either upgrading a fleet (when you’ve already worked into your plans the 2040 deadline) or paying the £100 daily levy means there will be little choice when it comes to viable activity.

Driven Media employ forward-thinking haulage firms who are supplementing their revenue streams with our branded curtains. Neil Trotter, Director of Transport Operations at Boughey Distribution Ltd stated that Boughey has “always operated fleets on a lease basis as this gives us the best use of the trucks in their lifecycle and allows us to have the most up to date fleet technologies.” With his current 5 year agreement renewed in 2016, every one of Boughey’s fleet of 122 trucks meets the Euro VI emissions standards.

Could leasing be a viable long-term solution for firms?  

Do you have concerns about rising costs for your firm? Have you considered alternative revenue streams? With the only cost to hauliers being the time it takes your trucks to be ‘re-curtained’ it really is a win-win for fleet operators.

Get in touch now to see how we can help you improve those profit margins!


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