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CAZs – is there a case to exempt removals trucks?

Sep 04, 2018
David Jordan, Deputy Editor of The Mover, argues that the moving industry should lobby for an exemption to Clean Air Zones across Europe.

CAZ - is there a case to exempt removals trucks?

As the march towards Clean Air Zones (CAZs) across the UK and many European cities gathers pace, truck operators are facing the dilemma of how to remain compliant without breaking the bank in the process.  In the UK alone, 16 local authorities are proposing to introduce CAZs meaning that commercial vehicles below Euro 6 will be charged to enter the zone.

The removals industry is likely to be particularly hard hit, given that many removals trucks cover relatively low mileages and therefore have an above average lifespan. For some smaller companies, the cost of upgrading perfectly serviceable pre-Euro 6 trucks will be beyond their means, and for many it could literally be the end of the road. 

I believe that there is a case for removals trucks, used solely for moving household affects, to be exempt from paying the high cost of entering CAZs. Unlike other commercial vehicles, removals trucks spend much of their lives parked outside people’s houses rather than running around cities delivering goods, so they cause much less pollution. Another argument is that removals vans are often specially designed for the job rather than being an off–the–shelf standard body or curtain-sider and are therefore more expensive to replace. Most importantly, the removals industry provides a highly-skilled essential service to the public and forcing companies to needlessly upgrade their vehicles would put the future of many long-established family businesses in jeopardy.

Although central governments require CAZs to be introduced in cities with air quality below the EU standard, it is the job of local authorities to set the rules.  They will decide what types of vehicles are affected, the area covered by the zone and how much the charge will be for each vehicle, etc. The local authority may also choose to give special discounts to businesses based within the CAZ or those that might struggle to comply. It may even decide to give financial support or sunset clauses for certain vehicles – those still on finance for example.

As part of the implementation process, all local authorities will have to go to consultation and the answers and comments they receive from respondents will influence the decisions they make in drawing up the rules for their CAZs; therefore, it’s important to have your say and not to just accept the inevitable.

When talking to people in the moving industry, I have often been surprised by the lack of knowledge many of them have about the impact CAZs will have on their businesses and the absence of planning to deal with it. It is vital to keep up to speed with what’s going on in your area and if your local authority is proposing a CAZ, make sure you take part in the consultation when it’s published. If you are a member of a trade association, ask them to add their voice to the argument that removals vans should be a special case and not be lumped in with the general haulage industry.

UK cities in which CAZs are in place or have been proposed – is yours on the list?  Aberdeen, Bristol, Dundee, Leeds, Nottingham, Warrington, Bath, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Sheffield, Birmingham, Derby, Glasgow, Manchester, Southampton.


CAZ - is there a case to exempt removals trucks?

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