The Mayor of London has come under fire for his decision to introduce the Ultra Low Emission Zone 17 months ahead of schedule, impacting on fleet operators in the capital.
Sadiq Khan confirmed on Friday that following consultations, the ULEZ will take effect on 8 April 2019, replacing the newly launched T-Charge and bringing far more onerous compliance requirements.
Now the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association and Freight Transport Association have spoken out about the impact on fleets, particularly commercial fleet operators, who will face a big financial challenge in trying to upgrade their vehicles ahead of schedule.
BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “Many of these operators will be small and medium-sized businesses that rely on buying second-hand vehicles from larger fleets and can’t afford to go and buy a whole new Euro VI fleet at short notice.”
And the FTA has said that short timeframe to the scheme’s introduction will leave operators with vehicles they cannot use, with massively reduced or no residual value for resale.
FTA’s head of policy for London, Natalie Chapman said: “We are all in favour of taking every step possible to clean up London’s air, but the Mayor of London has failed to take into account the time needed for businesses to comply with these new regulations, without incurring significant costs that could put real strain on overheads and business security.
“By April 2019 there will only be two and a half years’ production of vans available for operators to purchase, with little or no compliant second-hand market which will put pressure on operators already working to fragile margins. Residents based within the ULEZ have been given a period of tolerance, and we would ask for the same consideration to be given to the freight operators who keep London’s businesses and consumers supplied and working.”
Meanwhile the Road Haulage Association has highlighted the impact on hauliers – saying that more than half the GB lorry fleet will not be Euro 6 when the ULEZ is introduced and leading to an increased shift to vans.
Chief executive Richard Burnett said: “It is essential that a realistic implementation date and appropriate phasing is established and adhered to. The current approach will lead to the use of more vans, will increase congestion and will undermine the economic wellbeing of the city. Given the switch to vans, there is even a strong possibility that the Mayor’s plans could make air quality worse.”