The trade body for the logistics industry has welcomed a decision by the government to postpone introduction of Clean Air Zone (CAZs) until 2021.

Natalie Chapman, head of urban policy at the Freight Transport Association (FTA) commented: “As the business organisation representing the logistics sector, FTA has been urging government to delay the introduction of CAZs urgently to allow businesses to focus their efforts on keeping goods moving throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, so we were pleased to receive a letter from Environment, Food and Rural Affairs minister Rebecca Pow to confirm implementation of the schemes will be postponed until at least January 2021.

“While FTA and its members support fully the government’s ambition to improve air quality across the UK, to achieve compliance with the scheme businesses would have to undertake significant work and planning. With the industry focusing all its attention on ensuring the public, supermarkets and other retailers continue to receive the essential items they need during the pandemic, logistics businesses simply do not have the resources to dedicate to preparing for the imminent introduction of CAZs. In addition, supplies of technology, equipment and trucks are being disrupted by the pandemic, making it harder for businesses to upgrade their fleets to meet the emission standards required of the schemes.

“Once the immediacy of the coronavirus crisis comes to an end, FTA will continue to work with Defra and cities including Birmingham and Leeds, whose zones were due to come into force this year, to ensure the detail of the schemes take into account the needs of businesses while delivering improvements to air quality.”