The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has expressed “strong concern” about the two-year timescale proposed for implementing Scottish low emission zones.
In response to the publication ‘Low Emission Strategy for Scotland’ by the Scottish Government, FTA’s head of urban logistics policy Christopher Snelling said: "The biggest concern in these proposals is the potential timescale for implementation.
"The document correctly notes that 'it is vital to the potential success of a low emission zone (LEZ) that affected vehicle owners and operators are given sufficient notice to ensure compliance before the LEZ is established'.
"However, the document then states that the notice period should be a maximum of two years – compared to the total seven years notice that will have passed by the time London’s Euro VI LEZ comes into force.
"So far, nowhere else in Europe has implemented a Euro VI LEZ, let alone at such short timescales."
The FTA outlined that if a Scottish council were to take-up this document’s suggestion this year and announces a Euro VI/6 LEZ (as recommended in the strategy) it would start in 2017.
That would mean any lorry older than three years would be excluded, while for some van classes those more than one year old would be banned.
FTA also noted that this measure would see two year old diesel cars being excluded.
Snelling added: "Two years notice might work if what is planned is a lower standard bus-only LEZ – as implemented successfully in Brighton recently. However, if we are to avoid significant disruption to local economies in town and city centres, commercial vehicles operators, and we’d assume private motorists, need notice periods akin to those being given in London.”
FTA also stated that low emission zones appeal to campaigners and politicians as they sound dramatic but often the best practical solutions are less exciting measures, such as traffic re-sequencing in key streets.