Operators face 17% congestion charge rise
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By Hayley Pink
HAULIERS operating in the capital could face a hike of up to 17% in the congestion charge following proposals launched by Transport for London (TfL) this week.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) and Road Haulage Association (RHA) have criticised the plans, insisting that hauliers perform an essential service in London.
If the change goes ahead it would see the standard daily rate rise 15% from £10 to £11.50, while the rate for operators of six or more vehicles would increase by 17% from £9 to £10.50 per day.
FTA head of policy Natalie Chapman said: "Most transport companies are registered on the fleet scheme so will be in line for an over-inflationary 17% hike if the proposed changes go ahead. While the FTA is not opposed to the principle of the congestion charge, we see this as a tax on businesses that have little alternative but to use trucks and vans during the day."
She added: "London's businesses rely on freight to deliver essential goods and services. "Without the logistics industry,
the capital would grind to a halt."
The RHA insists that freight operators should be exempt from paying the charge altogether, in the same way roadside recovery trucks and emergency vehicles are, as they have no alternative but to enter the charging zone to perform essential collections and deliveries. Head of media relations Kate Gibbs said: "Once again it looks as though hauliers are to be
penalised for filling the shelves of the nation's capital reliably, regularly and cost-effectively.
"Surely those making essential deliveries and collections should be considered to be essential, and therefore charge-exempt, users?"
A 10-week consultation on the price increase will now take place, along with other proposals, such as making payment more automated.
If approved, the rate rise will be implemented in the summer.
TfL said increasing the charge would generate an estimated £84m of additional revenue by the end of 2017/18, with any net revenue generated being invested in improvements to London's transport (as required by law).
It added that since the congestion charge was introduced in 2003, more than £1.2bn revenue has been invested in transport, including the bus network, roads and bridges.