With a large number of Drive Personnel clients based in Southampton, talk of Clean Air Zone regulations and emissions surcharges are a worry to the local transport industry. The penalties proposed by Southampton City Council could potentially have a devastating effect on small businesses who don’t have the resources to consolidate freight, create new road networks or invest in newer, lower emission vehicles. In turn, these Clean Air Zone penalties could conceivably affect HGV driving jobs as businesses attempt to consolidate their freight and reduce their use of commercial vehicles.
As a result of these concerns, Southampton City Council have dropped plans to charge operators of high-polluting vehicles £100 per vehicle in Clean Air Zones for the time being. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) backed the decision to drop the charges, and Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith said that the plan to limit intra-city HGV movement would “finish businesses” and result in “untold damage to jobs and livelihoods”.
Despite this change in strategy, it remains the Council’s priority to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels within the most polluted areas through the introduction of cleaner city buses, a low emission taxi incentive scheme, the introduction of cleaner fuels and equipment at Southampton port, and heavy investment in cycling infrastructure.
The introduction of Freight Consolidation Centres in Southampton is another idea which has been discussed. This proposal addresses the difference in requirements between inter- and intra-city freight transport. Freight consolidation favours larger vehicles for inter-city transport, allowing fuel and toll costs to be shared across larger loads. Intra-city distribution favours smaller trucks and vans which suit the smaller streets of city centres and more congested networks.
Finding the balance between meeting the needs of customers and reducing harmful emissions in congested city centres is a balancing act that freight carriers are undertaking nationwide.
Drive Personnel are a specialist HGV driving agency based in Southampton. Our experienced team provides qualified drivers to fill temporary or permanent positions for businesses across Southampton, Eastleigh, Portsmouth, Gosport and Fareham. If your business needs help recruiting a driver, give our friendly local team a call on 02380 695 600 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.