Small businesses reliant on vehicles for their trade have been prevented from taking steps to invest in new vans because of the current pandemic and the subsequent impact this has had on their livelihoods, says FSB London.
London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is being expanded from its current limit within the Congestion Charge zone in central London to incorporate a much larger area inside the North and South Circular Roads next year on 25 October.
But he current political uncertainty surrounding a financial settlement deal for TfL is a significant worry for small businesses as there are concerns that the Congestion Charge will also be expanded to the North and South Circular on the same day of the ULEZ launch.
Whilst FSB London welcomes the new Transport for London (TfL) heavy vehicle scrappage scheme launched in September, the suspension of the van scrappage scheme in contrast is unhelpful leaving many small businesses unable to afford any upgrade to their vans in the coming months or afford the daily charge to enter the zone.
Sat Pillai, FSB London Policy Lead for Environment said: “It was a disappointment to see TfL suspend the van scrappage scheme so suddenly in August ‘due to unprecedented demand and limited funds’.
“With only a year left to run until the ULEZ expansion beyond central London, the switch to a less polluting van will be a financial challenge for even more small businesses that currently operate ULEZ non-compliant vans.
“Many small businesses can now only look towards 2021 in the hope that the pandemic will end and that they can survive the next 12 months. The cost of moving around the capital must be even more cost-effective for them during this time.
“Without more support and a longer run-up to the introduction to the ULEZ expansion, small businesses who are struggling financially because of the Covid-19 crisis will be put under unbearable further financial stress during 2021.
“Furthermore, acknowledging how well TfL has been working with partners to deliver the Mayor’s London electric vehicle infrastructure delivery plan, FSB London would like to ensure all small businesses travelling for work across the capital can fully benefit from the significant government and private sector investment that is going into growing the number of charging points now available across London.”