Horse & Hound
The effect of clean air plans on equestrianism
Low emission zone charges are being introduced, or increasing, and horseboxes are included
CHANGES to clean air proposals and low emission zones could affect riders and venues – with some horsebox users facing up to £300 daily charges.
Changes have been announced to Government plans aimed at improving air quality in areas including Greater Manchester, Greater London, Birmingham and Leeds, by reducing vehicle emissions and introducing daily charges for non-compliant vehicles, including horseboxes in designated zones (news,
27 June 2019). Transport for London (TfL) announced that from 1 March 2021, the Greater London low emission zone (LEZ) standards will be “tougher” for heavier vehicles – previously, vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, including horseboxes, had to pay £200 daily if they did not meet the Euro IV standard to drive on all roads in Greater London, but not the M25.
Now, those that do not meet the more stringent Euro VI must pay a £100, and those that do not meet Euro IV must pay £300.
For horseboxes under 3.5 tonnes, £100 must be paid if they do not meet the Euro 3 standard – this remains unchanged.
MARY GARRETT, owner of Aldborough Hall Equestrian Centre, Essex, told H&H the centre had to stop hosting British Dressage competitions when the LEZ launched in 2008.
“The LEZ has affected us quite dramatically,” she said. “People wouldn’t pay the charges and we had to stop the shows, which was very sad.”
Charlie McMillan, owner of Frith Manor Equestrian Centre in north London, told H&H LEZ charges have affected the yard and others in the area “enormously”. “It’s not just horseboxes; deliveries are delayed or can’t come on a day because companies want to coordinate with other deliveries and not pay a huge fee,” she said.
A spokesman for TfL told H&H the measures were “vital” to clean up the capital’s air.
“Heavy vehicles, whether used for business or leisure, contribute a significant proportion of roadbased emissions,” he said.
Proposals for the Greater Manchester clean air zone are moving ahead with an eightweek public consultation from 8 October. In a follow-up to a survey last summer, the new proposals include a reduced daily fee of £60 from £100 for non-compliant vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, and an increased fee of £10 (from £7.50) for those under. Other proposals include a discounted rate of £10 per day for “leisure vehicles”, which includes horseboxes over 3.5 tonnes, registered to addresses in Greater Manchester.
Rider Helena Pixton told H&H that even with the reduced charge of £60, the proposals will have a big impact on the industry.
“What is going to be the incentive for people who live just over in Lancashire or Cheshire to travel to a show centre in Greater Manchester? They’ll say, ‘I might as well go the other way’,” she said.
“We know the proposals are not aimed at equestrians but we are caught in the crosshairs. People think it won’t happen or don’t realise the charges will apply to horseboxes, but we all need to take part in the consultation.”
A spokesman for Transport for Greater Manchester told H&H the charges had been modified since the 2019 survey thanks to “better understanding” of the vehicle fleets in the area, and a option had been tested to identify the lowest, most effective charge.
“The charge would only be payable on days a non-compliant vehicle travels into or through the zone, and so this may be an occasional cost for visitors to equestrian venues,” said the spokesman.
“We welcome feedback in the consultation, at cleanairgm.com.”
“People wouldn’t pay the charges
and we had to stop shows”
VENUE OWNER MARY GARRETT