A prominent waste operator in London has criticised the city’s new mayor about his plans to bring forward a ‘clean air’ charging zone to tackle the capital’s illegal air pollution levels.
Jacqueline O’Donovan, managing director of O’Donovan Waste Disposal, said she was disappointed at the proposals, and was concerned that accelerating the scheme was unfair on HGV operators.
The Ultra Low Emissions Zone (Ulez) was Sadiq Khan’s first major policy announcement after winning the mayoral election this month. Drivers of the oldest and most polluting vehicles that fail to meet the standards will pay an extra charge, separate to the congestion charge.
The zone would stretch from the north to south circular roads in London, rather than the much smaller congestion charge zone in the centre, and be introduced earlier. The proposals will go to public consultation.
O’Donovan said: “I’m disappointed to hear Sadiq Khan’s plans to bring forward the Ulez because it leaves HGV operators with very little time to plan for the reforms.
“His clean air revolution will require HGV operators to reduce diesel emissions in all forms across their entire fleets, as well as require them to adopt new clean technologies.”
O’Donovan said her company had an overall objective to improve sustainability dramatically.
“We have already made significant reductions to idling and reduced carbon impact, and our fleet management system has seen a 50% drop in vehicle idling during a five-year period, thereby reducing the company’s carbon footprint by 21.5%.
”But this does not happen overnight, and the wider industry needs time to make further changes and adopt new technologies.”
She argued that it was unfair to place a strict time limit on the emission plans as O’Donovan had recently invested much time and effort to improve the safety of vulnerable road users, such as cyclists.
“The high-quality training of our drivers, and development and implementation of the latest additions to our fleet, are all helping to keep Londoners safer – I would like the mayor to give our industry time to respond to his latest requirements, and we will do just that.”