With the introduction of London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone in April this year, and the scheduled introduction of three other Clean Air Zones around the country over the next two years, fleet managers may well be worried about the potential costs to their business.
Planned back in 2015, the zones aim to improve air quality, specifically targeting nitrogen dioxide. Along with the planned expansion of London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2021, there are a further 11 other potential zones which could come into effect across the country.
The fee for non-compliant vehicles to enter into London’s new ULEZ will vary depending on the vehicle, but for most, it costs £12.50 per day in addition to the congestion charge. This could mean a weekly charge of over £60 for just one vehicle. For lorries, the standard to meet or exceed is Euro 6 and failure to do so results in a fee of £100 per day.
To know if your vehicles are compliant or not you can use the online checker provided by Transport for London but a general rule is that if the vehicle does not meet the Euro 4 or Euro 6 standards for petrol and diesel vehicles respectively, they are classed as non-compliant.
London already has Clear Air Zones (CAZ), whose regulations will become tougher next year. With these new stricter regulations in mind, research has shown that 55.3% of vehicles entering the CAZ between August 2017 to August 2018 were non-compliant. Had the new regulations been in place this could have resulted in a total fine over £1690 per vehicle for the period.
What can be done?
The most important thing when working out how best to tackle the new regulations is to understand your fleet fully. Take a broad view of your fleet and identify which vehicles comply with the regulations put in place for CAZ or London’s ULEZ and which do not.
It is then vital to work out which of these vehicles are actually moving through the zones based on the tasks they are assigned. If you can redeploy vehicles which comply with the regulations to areas where they will come into contact with the zones, this is the best place to start. Doing this with as little disruption to your fleet as possible is the aim, but it is essential to remember that making sweeping vehicle redeployments which could significantly impact the work of employees and this should be avoided.
Making sure you understand which vehicles are coming into contact with the proposed zones can be difficult, however implementing a system such as business vehicle tracking, which uses GPS technology to collect highly accurate data is one way to do it. By using vehicle tracking, fleet managers can see precisely which vehicles are entering zones and how frequently.
Depending on the viability of redeploying vehicles from other areas of your fleet, the data from vehicle tracking could indicate that upgrading your fleet to vehicles which comply with the regulations may be more cost-effective in the long term.
What if my business and vehicles are based inside a zone?
With more zones planned to be introduced around the country, the chances of businesses being based inside a zone increases. If this is the case looking at upgrading vehicles to comply fully with the regulations is an option. Furthermore, if we take London’s CAZ as an example of existing zones implementing stricter regulations, it could be worth exploring the possibility of moving to electric vehicles.
With more clean air zones coming into effect around the UK, is your business prepared and how do you think it will impact your business?
By Thomas Goodall
About the author
Thomas Goodall is a contributor who has an interest in advancements in vehicle technology and sustainability. Having recently graduated from Newcastle University, Thomas now contributes work to a variety of online publications on a range of topics.