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Van fleets ‘in the dark’ over Clean Air Zone plans

Businesses are calling for clarity on the Government’s work on Clean Air Zones as new research reveals many fleets are in the dark as to current plans.

Mercedes-Benz Vans research suggests confusion and concern is rife over environmental policy
Mercedes-Benz Vans research suggests confusion and concern is rife over environmental policy

This summer saw the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) publish its latest air quality plans, outlining that the first five Clean Air Zones (CAZs) will be in place by the end of 2019 in Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton. And other local authorities are now required to set out their final plans for Clean Air Zones by the end of December 2018.

However, the Clean Air Zone plans still leave key road-users confused and concerned about what they mean and how they will work, according to the Mercedes-Benz Vans Business Barometer.

The research found one in five of the 2,000 van drivers, owners and operators surveyed have not heard about the proposed Clean Air Zones while 41% say they fear they could have a negative impact on their business. And 78% of van drivers, owners and operators want more clarity on what the charging and emissions criteria of these proposed CAZs will be.

Meanwhile just 6% of all van drivers, owners and operators were aware that Derby is one of the proposed five cities where roll-out will begin pre-2020, and just 7% could name Southampton as another of the first cities to have a Clean Air Zone.

The research follows the news a month ago that environmental lawyers at ClientEarth are taking the Government back to court over the plans, which they say do not go far enough.

Steve Bridge, managing director, Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd, said: “It speaks volumes that business owners and van operators don’t see clearly when it comes to Clean Air; the communication about this topic simply hasn’t reached this important section of industry.

“To not have clear plans in place that are communicated effectively is doing a disservice to the hardworking business community.”

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.

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