The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has called on ministers and London mayor Sadiq Khan to work with the industry to “support, devise and implement” national and international vehicle standards (including the possible retrofit of equipment), rather than push ahead with the mayor’s plan to instigate a separate Direct Vision Standard specific to the capital.
Khan’s scheme means all trucks entering London will need a permit, issued by Transport for London (TfL). Ministers are backing the plan and have had to apply to the European Commission for approval of the scheme, as EU hauliers will also need a permit to enter London.
If the EC gives the scheme the green light, from October 2020 all HGVs entering London will be assessed against the TfL-devised Direct Vision Standards and must obtain a permit from TfL.
Previous advice from TfL claimed around half of the trucks entering the capital will need to be fitted with additional equipment such as camera systems, audible turn warnings and side sensors with driver alerts before a permit can be issued.
Fines of £550 will be issued to operators of any truck entering without a permit, plus a personal fine for the driver of £150.
The first phase is planned to run from October 2020 until 2024 – at which time new standards – yet to be devised – will be mandated by TfL.
The scheme forces hauliers to contact vehicle manufacturers to get information on TfL’s “star rating” for the trucks they want to operate in London. However, ratings are not available for all trucks – and if the manufacturer cannot advise a star rating, the vehicle will automatically be classed by TfL as “zero star” and will have to be retrofitted with London-mandated equipment.
“We made it clear to TfL and ministers it is wholly inappropriate to create local vehicle standards and permit schemes separate from the national and international standards for vehicles,” said RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett.
“The RHA fully supports the continuous improvement in safety standards… But locally created vehicle standards are wrong. They lead to ineffective safety measures, a disintegration of cohesive regulation across the sector and an increase in red tape.
“Lorries work nationally. The mayor’s approach risks the creation of multiple local standards and permit schemes for lorries across the country.”