Since its DNA is innovation, and it has always been a leading light on mobility issues, SOLUTRANS 2023 will once again this year go to the heart of the issues facing the sector with an array of solutions to support all transport stakeholders in dealing with the decisions of policymakers regarding the green transition. Among them, the deployment of LEZ (low emission zones) in many city regions plunges the road transport world into the midst of multiple challenges.
THE NEW RULES OF LEZ
Brought into law in France by the mobility framework Act in 2019 and extended by the Climate and Resilience Act in 2021, the introduction of (ultra) low emission zones (LEZ/ULEZ, known as ZFE-m in French) addresses the obligation set down by the European Commission to improve local air quality. The arrival of LEZ in urban hubs will not only require cities to reorganise themselves but will also compel transporters to adapt in order to comply with new traffic and access rules. And while the Climate and Resilience Act only sought to restrict access for vehicles under 3.5 tonnes, most greater city councils have extended the measure to heavy goods vehicles (HGV) in addition to light commercial vehicles (LCV). By 2025, 43 cities of more than 150,000 inhabitants are expected to have introduced an LEZ.
In addition, on 14 February this year the European Commission announced its intention to reduce the carbon emissions of HGVs above 5 tonnes by 2040, with two intermediate targets: 45% less carbon dioxide by 2030 and 65% less by 2035, with the final goal of 90% by 2040. This poses a serious challenge to transport professionals whose delivery organisation arrangements will be heavily impacted, and who will have no other choice than to renew their vehicle fleets in favour of “cleaner” fuels in the very near future. And it is a massive conundrum for carriers when one considers that 98% of goods transportation today is performed thanks to diesel.