The FTA has called for more support to make sure small businesses are not debilitated by the cost of upgrading vehicles to comply with the new London Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
The association made the call on the back of the announcement of Transport for London’s (TfL) van scrappage scheme, designed to help operators with the potential costs.
The ULEZ will come into force on 8 April, with a £12.50 daily charge applied for vans not compliant with the Euro 6 emissions standard to enter.
While the scrappage scheme offers £3,500 towards a Euro 6 van, or towards rental or ongoing business operations for regular London Congestion Charge users, or £6,000 towards an electric van, it is only open to businesses with 10 or fewer employees, and to registered charities.
FTA policy manager for vans and urban Denise Beedell said: “While the scheme will help microbusinesses cope with the costs of operating within the ULEZ and similar air quality schemes, more specialist operators are likely to lose out.
“These operators are unlikely to be eligible for funding due to the low turnover threshold (of up to £632,00).
“They may also find the cost of upgrading their vans to Euro 6 is still too high, despite receiving financial support from the government.”
Despite the FTA’s concerns, Beedell said other aspects of the scrappage scheme were welcome.
She said: “The FTA is pleased to see the van scrappage package includes a range of options to ease the transition to the new emissions standards for operators.”
“The FTA is pleased TfL will be reviewing uptake of the scheme shortly after implementation and has confirmed it will be open to adjusting the requirements where needed.
“We will be working closely with TfL to ensure the scheme is fit for purpose and reflects the need of microbusinesses operating within London.
“While there are only just over two years of compliant vans in the fleet – Euro 6 for vans was introduced in September 2016 – TfL has been exploring how businesses can access second-hand Euro 6 vans, so ‘compliant’ does not have to mean brand new – an important development to ensure affordability for businesses of all sizes and keep London trading effectively.”