The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has warned that Transport for London’s Direct Vision proposal from Transport for London (TfL) could result half the existing HGVs being banned from the capital’s streets.
TfL is developing Direct Vision Standard (DVS), a star rating system for lorries that, which it is hoped will significantly reduce the number of cyclists and pedestrians killed or seriously injured on the capital’s streets.
The DVS applies a star rating from 0 to 5 to every model of HGV, based on the level of vision the driver has directly from the cab. Zero star-rated HGVs will be banned from London’s roads from January 2020. From 2024 only vehicles achieving three stars or above – a good rating – will be permitted.
TfL launched a consultation last month.
The RHA says that during a meeting on 17 March, TfL estimated that some 35,000 trucks out of the 188,000 that enter London will be banned when the standard coms into effect in 2020. The total of non-compliant would rise to 94,000 by 2024, says the RHA.
While the TfL is developing a star rating from zero to five stars for trucks over 12 tonnes, the ratings have not yet been established. However, TfL has confirmed that the standards will apply to both articulated and rigid vehicles.
The RHA says that hauliers and other stakeholders at the meeting pointed out that there is no certainty that they will be able to buy compliant vehicles in time and the value of new but non-compliant trucks could collapse.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett, said: “We consider these latest proposals to be unfair. They represent a U-turn in as much as the original plans were to specifically be aimed at increasing the safety of construction vehicles.
“Of course we understand the need to make the roads as safe as possible, but this proposal has run off the rails. It is simply not credible. It’s impossible for a haulier to buy a vehicle now that complies with TfL standards as no vehicle has been assessed against any standard.
“It is absurd to expect businesses to invest many tens of thousands of pounds in new, clean Euro VI vehicles only to have them banned by TfL in a little over two years time.”
TfL is expected to undertake the statutory consultation in the spring of 2018. The RHA said that TfL confirmed that “this is subject to government and European Commission support”, but it is not clear what approvals need to be given by these bodies, the RHA said.
Richard Burnett added: “This is a fiasco, it is shocking attack on business in the Capital. The cost of this will be met initially by road hauliers, but will eventually be picked up by the people of London. Businesses and people depend on lorries to deliver the goods they need, including the food we eat. It seems TfL is determined to undermine the competitiveness of London. The timings and requirements that are being specified are ridiculous.”
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