The introduction of clean air zones (CAZs) across the UK will drive removals firms out of business, Ian Studd, director general of the British Association of Removers (BAR) has warned.

Speaking to CM, Studd said: “The imminent introduction of a series of CAZs across the UK will be extremely damaging to the professional moving industry.

“The industry consistently experiences significant margin pressure and it is true to say that in our particular service industry, professional service providers often find themselves trading against unfair competition.

“That unfair competition comes from unregulated businesses that offer unproven services directly to the public, usually without charging VAT, and which therefore fuel the black economy.

“However, professional removals and packing services require high levels of investment in purpose-built vehicles and equipment and consequently the life-cycle of those vehicles is factored across many years.”

He added that the implementation of CAZs, which will demand Euro-6 as a minimum for HGVs, “will inevitably be a huge financial burden to movers that already have a daily battle with massively tight margins”.

“Such zones will impose taxes on the majority of our members that operate vehicle fleets that are a few years old and that simply will not be able to afford a replacement programme,” he said.

Traditionally, movers depreciate their vehicle asset over at least 10 years and even then, those same vehicles are recycled through the used truck market, meaning that the life-cycle of a removals truck is 15 years, with many in service for 20 years plus, Studd said.

“Those vehicles, by the very nature of the job they do, are operating within urban centres on a daily basis, even though they are stationary, with engines turned off, for most of that time,” Studd added.
BAR is calling on transport secretary Chris Grayling to grant removals companies exemption from CAZ rules.

Operators and businesses around Leeds continue to express their fears of the economic impact of the city’s forthcomin CAZ despite the council reducing both the level of fine for non-compliance and area of operation.