How Will London’s Toxicity Charge Affect the Courier Industry?

There has always been the mumbling of environmental and ecological concern surrounding the growing courier industry. With such a vast network of vehicles almost always active, technological advancements are trying to steer us towards the use of more environmentally friendly vehicles, and away from older models that have higher levels of emissions.

The London toxicity charge is a new pollution tax is due to come into effect October 2017, and will introduce a £10 daily charge for vehicles that are not adequate enough to reach Euro 4 standards. This change is most likely to affect cars produced before 2006, and those that run on diesel.

Alongside the congestion charge, this means that a driver of a vehicle that is eligible for the tax will now be charged £21.50 to enter a congestion zone in London. Indeed, authorities have described the implementation as the ‘toughest emission standard of any world city’.

So will this have any effect on the courier industry?

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is yes. The courier industry has seen a healthy growth in the last five years thanks to emerging opportunities for individuals to become part time, or full time couriers via services such as Amazons Deliver With Amazon service amongst other alternatives. No doubt, the T-charge will heavily penalise these small independent couriers whilst also effecting large scale business.

Patrick Gallagher, CEO of CitySprint commented on the charges, stating that:

“Like many in our industry, we are also exploring alternative delivery options. We have an incredibly varied fleet, from vans and bikes to greener pushbike couriers. We are keeping a keen eye on the latest vehicle developments but, today, electronic vehicles are simply not yet a fully viable option for UK-wide delivery.”

A large amount of complaints stem from the fact that whilst this charge is meant to target vehicles with the highest pollution levels, they exclude taxi, passenger car companies and private hire vehicle services. This means that although Black Cabs are diesel and have high levels of emissions, they will be immune to the charge. Thus, leading to questions regarding whether the tax will really make a difference at all, and whether it is just an attempt to increase tax revenue throughout the London area.