April 27, 2017

What does the London ULEZ mean for your business?

euro 6

Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London, has made public his desire to introduce the new Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in 2019 – a year earlier than originally planned.

The roll-out of the scheme will focus initially on central London before expanding to both the North and South Circular in 2020. The ULEZ will dramatically affect the capital’s traffic with the end goal of reducing London’s significant pollution issues. Despite this, there will be an inevitable impact on the businesses that operate within the city limits.

If Mayor Khan’s desire to introduce the ULEZ in less than three years’ time is fulfilled, it has a knock-on effect on the purchasing requirements of many businesses with a van – or fleet – right now.

What is the ULEZ?

The ULEZ is a specific area in which all buses, cars, coaches, heavy goods vehicles, minibuses, motorcycles and vans must meet stringent exhaust emissions standards. If they don’t, then you must pay a daily charge to travel within the zone.

The proposed new zone will not replace any existing standards. In fact, it will co-exist alongside the existing Congestion Charge and Low Emission Zone (LEZ). What’s more, unlike the congestion charge, the ULEZ will operate 24/7 – including bank holidays and weekends, so there’s no escaping it.

Where does the ULEZ cover?

London’s ULEZ will operate within the same area as the Congestion Charge, known as the CCZ. If you’re still unsure of the location covered by these zones, just use Transport for London’s (TfL) ULEZ postcode checker.

What are the standards of the ULEZ?

To adhere to the new ULEZ standards and avoid a charge, you must be driving a vehicle which conforms to the following standards:

  • A diesel engine car, minibus or van which is of Euro 6 ULEZ emissions standard
  • A petrol engine car, minibus or van which is of Euro 4 emissions standard
  • A motorcycle, moped or similar vehicle which is of Euro 3 emissions standard
  • A HGV, bus or coach which is of Euro 6 ULEZ emissions standard

The Euro 6 emissions standard has just come into force for diesel vans in the UK. This means that there will be many newly-registered commercial vehicles that may not be able to enter London in 2019 without paying the daily charge.

What are the ULEZ charges for non-conforming vehicles?

If your vehicle does not meet ULEZ standards, you’ll need to pay the standard daily charge (subject to change before the scheme officially begins) to be able to drive it in the ULEZ. These are as follows:

  • £12.50 per day for a diesel or petrol car, minibus or van
  • £12.50 per day for a motorcycle, moped or a similar vehicle
  • £100 per day for a HGV, bus or coach

Be aware that there are no barriers or toll booths operating as part of the ULEZ scheme. As per the CCZ, cameras will be placed throughout the area. Using a system similar to Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), the cameras scan vehicle number plates and check them against a database produced using information from the DVSA, vehicle manufacturers and drivers and operator registered with TfL.

In the event that you drive within the zone in a vehicle that does not meet ULEZ standards and fail to pay the daily charge, a Penalty Charge Notice is applicable. These penalty charges are as follows (subject to change):

  • £130 penalty for a diesel or petrol car, minibus or van, reduced to £65 if payment is made within 14 days of issue
  • £130 penalty for a motorcycle, moped or similar vehicle, reduced to £65 if payment is made within 14 days of issue
  • £1000 penalty for a HGV, bus or coach, reduced to £500 if payment is made within 14 days of issue

If your business operates a fleet or a number of vehicles that enter the ULEZ, you’ll need to monitor individual vehicle to ensure that non-compliant vehicles do not enter the zone – or that any charges are paid on time if non-compliant vehicles are used.

The ULEZ will not replace the LEZ. The LEZ does not apply to light commercial vehicles (LCVs) or cars, and is specifically aimed at reducing particulate matter emitted from HGV diesel engines. The LEZ covers a broader area than the ULEZ, including all 32 London boroughs along with the M1 south of the London Gateway Services and the M4 east of Junction 3 (and including the Heathrow Spur).

Unfortunately there are few options available to owners of older, non-compliant vehicles that do not meet the emission standards. The fastest, most cost effective way to ensure you meet the new Euro 6 regulations is to sell your old van and take on a new one! We have plenty of panel vans, from small to large, available from stock. If you use a vehicle with a conversion such as a tipper, dropside or a refrigerated vehicle then it’s time to act! Conversion body builders are quickly filling up their schedules as businesses rush to meet the new rules by Christmas.

If you drive in and around London, make sure you know the rules and how – if at all – any incoming regulations affect you and your business.

Looking to the future? Check out our range of Euro 6 vans! To discuss, give us a call on 0845 021 0444, enquire online or visit our Facebook page!