Does the Birmingham Clean Air zone change courier practices?

Birmingham (where Rock Solid Deliveries is based) is not the only City to have a clean air zone (or equivalent.) The congestion charge has been a concept of central London driving for some time, and has recently been in the news with the expansion of the ULEZ zone into wider parts of the outskirts of London. These type of schemes often create polarised viewpoints depending on whether you feel they are best for you. There is no doubt that such schemes have changed the way deliveries are made from couriers within these areas. Our latest article will take a closer look at this.

It has been reported that Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) has netted £79 million in revenue since it’s introduction, by charging drivers to come into the city with non-compliant vehicles. You can safely assume that many of the similar schemes in different parts of the country would be bringing in the same level of figures. The scheme has been shown to reduce traffic figures and bring down the levels of pollution according to official reports. No one would argue that cleaner air is a bad thing, but everything comes at a price or a consequence somewhere else.

Businesses are and have been struggling since the introduction of the CAZ. Many businesses have told similar stories of how the CAZ has increased costs significantly to their businesses, so much so that there is a growing backlash and resentment about its continued operation in its current form.

From a delivery and courier perspective, everyone knows that the city centre houses many businesses and is often where the central or head offices of many companies are based. These companies need supplies, equipment, or deliveries, and these have to be transported to venues. Couriers have found theirselves in very difficult situations because whilst demand has grown for their services, this is offset against the charge that is being placed on them for coming into the city centre. Whether this is Birmingham, London or somewhere else, the same is true of any city with a CAZ type scheme.

The introduction of green technology is continuing to grow year on year, and eventually this will be the way forward for businesses and private individuals alike. The problem now is that when it comes to small courier firms, they do not have access to the capital resources to be able to afford green technology which is still very expensive. The courier is then left with a dilemma to turn down work, which is not good for building business or relationships, or to simply pass the charges onto the customer which in effect becomes a postcode lottery for courier services.

The ideal happy medium would be for operators of these schemes to have concessions in for businesses, especially where they can prove that there is a negative impact to their business. The economy needs businesses to thrive, and plenty of red tape and obstacles exist already without making this worse. Perhaps it is time that this was looked at again therefore?

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