The introduction of the London Ultra Low Emission Zone 17 months ahead of schedule is likely to hit SMEs and specialist vehicle operators the most, with limited impact on other fleets, according to Arval.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan confirmed last week that the zone will take effect from 8 April 2019 in central London ahead of its original date of 2020 – although the scheme’s possible expansion to cover the North/South Circular roads is still being targeted for 2021.
Although the BVRLA and FTA have spoken out about the scheme’s impact on commercial vehicle operators, Arval has said that fleets running three or four-year replacement cycles should be broadly in the clear – vehicles will need a minimum of Euro 6 compliance for diesels and Euro 4 for petrols, but with Euro 6 emission standards having come into effect for all vehicles from September 2015, the majority of fleets should be OK.
David Nicholas, fleet consultant, added that there may be some impact on van fleets running on longer cycles but said: “Even bearing this mind, the number of vehicles affected is likely to be a relatively small percentage of your fleet and can probably be managed by swapping some into areas unaffected by the ULEZ regulation.”
Smaller vehicle operators, who are less easily able to switch their vehicles, together with fleets running specialist vehicles on longer replacement cycles such as emergency services and local authorities, are the most likely to be impacted by the early introduction of the ULEZ, he added.
Nicholas also said that although five other cities have been mandated to develop low emission zones, they have much more localised problems with air quality. He added: “It will be interesting to see if they arrive at different solutions to London.”