Wednesday 28 January 2018
ULEZ risks putting smaller firms out of business warns London Chamber
Leading business organisation London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has warned that the new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) could risk putting firms, especially SMEs, out of business.
In its submission to the Mayor of London’s consultation LCCI says that, while it supports measures to improve London’s air quality, more thought must be given to the economic impact of the new charge. This is both in terms of when it is introduced and the proposed extension of its boundaries which are now as far as the north and south circular routes.
Instead LCCI has suggested if the ULEZ is brought forward on the current timetable, or expanded as planned, the GLA should consider introducing support for businesses and further measures to mitigate its impact.
To counter the initial impact on SMEs, LCCI believes businesses should be afforded sunset periods of three years to match those offered to residents. A longer transition period will give businesses the necessary breathing space to adapt and invest in ULEZ-complaint vehicles.
LCCI does support further use of the river to transport freight, but while this could have an important impact on reducing congestion in a wider context, does not believe it will have enough of a mitigating impact on small businesses, especially those that rely on vehicles to deliver their goods across London such as catering companies, florists, or other tradespeople.
Chief Executive of LCCI, Colin Stanbridge, said: “LCCI does not oppose the principle of ULEZ. However, there are unanswered questions on impact and costs.
“The obvious challenges associated with upgrading vehicle fleets and unresolved questions over the upfront costs associated with expanding and implementing ULEZ must be resolved before LCCI is able to wholeheartedly support the scheme.
“Businesses are already struggling to cope with a whole raft of challenges, not least the uncertainty of Brexit, so we must be very careful that we are not stifling the very people we actually want to encourage.”
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NOTES TO EDITOR:
- London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital’s largest and most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.
- Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, is available for further comment and interview.
- ComRes survey for LCCI of 577 London businesses, weighted to be representative of all London businesses by company size and broad industry sector, between 2 and 27 November 2017