Transport for London (Tfl) and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) have sent out a stern warning to van operators that the London Ultra-Low Emission Zone, and the numerous Clean Air Zones that are being proposed in cities around the UK, is set to have a significant financial impact on businesses. Indeed, with an estimated 80% of the UK van fleet yet to meet Euro 6 emission levels and many operators seemingly unaware of the changes that are coming in just a few months, 2019 could certainly be a costly year for some.
The ULEZ will begin operating in April 2019. It will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, within the current congestion charge area in central London. Then, in October 2021, the ULEZ area will expand, to include everything within London’s North and South Circular roads, a substantially bigger geographical area. In order to comply with the 2019 ULEZ, diesel-engined vans must be Euro 6 emissions compliant, otherwise they’ll face a daily charge of £12.50. Vans with a petrol engine must also meet the euro 4 standard.
In October 2020 all HGV’s operating in the zone will also have to be Euro 6, or they’ll be facing a £100 per day charge. Likewise, vans with engines of Euro 3 or older will be charged £100 per day to enter the zone. The adoption of the ULEZ next April comes 17 months earlier than originally planned, demonstrating the crucial fact that London continues to fail to meet set international air standards. TFL claims that there are 9400 premature deaths in London each year due to air pollution. A figure that supports the introduction of the ULEZ.
By the April 2019 deadline, Euro 6 vans will have only been available for two and a half years, which will not have been long enough for many operators to have changed to newer vehicles. Reports suggest that half of London’s SME’s have not taken the appropriate steps to ensure that there vehicles are ready for ULEZ and there is no doubt that it’s introduction next April will have a significant impact that will have lasting implications nationwide.