Issues with availability of new vans are hampering some fleets in their efforts to become compliant with new Clean Air Zones.
With the Bath CAZ already in place and Birmingham and Bristol to follow, as well as the upgraded London Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) now in effect, FleetCheck says some businesses are only now starting to realise that they need to ensure that they have sufficient Euro 6 LCVs available.
Peter Golding, managing director, said that while plans for CAZs have been known about in most areas for some time, many were delayed during the pandemic. And with most fleets having spent the last year ‘firefighting’ in terms of issues during the pandemic, the subject seems to have slipped off the agenda.
“As we are beginning to move out of lockdown, the immediacy of the problem has become apparent, especially in the enhanced London LEZ and in Birmingham where the size of the cities simply mean that more fleets are affected. With other locations set to follow, the situation could become even more acute,” he added.
Golding said that the issue appeared to be more acute among smaller and more localised fleets, typically running older vehicles and lacking the flexibility and resources of their larger counterparts, such as the ability to swap vehicles around to ensure that newer, Euro 6 compliant units are working within the affected areas.
And while some are having to turn to new vehicles as a result, they are then finding that delays in new van deliveries are hampering their efforts.
“Either the vehicles they want are on long lead times – and six months is not unusual at the moment – or they are having to buy what they can get and there is not a wide choice in terms of what can be ordered for short-term delivery.”
While there are the usual stop-gap options available to fleets, these are proving relatively expensive.
“There is no easy answer to this issue but we are working with affected customers to identify the best route in each instance. However, in many cases it comes to down to hiring Euro 6 vehicles on daily rental or simply paying the CAZ charge – and costs soon mount up quickly if you choose either option,” he warned.