LCV dealer David Spear reveals the facts behind the Ultra Low Emission Zone plans in light of recent government crackdown

David Spear, Director

The prospect of diesel vehicle drivers being charged up to £24 per day to drive in central London is likely to fill many with dread, especially the fleet owners managing multiple light commercial vehicles (LCVs). The recently announced Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) proposal will affect all vehicle types including cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), who will have to either make changes to meet exhaust emissions standards (known formally as ULEZ standards) or pay a daily charge to travel.

Commercial vehicle specialist David Spear Commercial Vehicles is here to reassure their customers and the wider LCV market about the facts, not conjecture, surrounding the low emissions plans so van buyers can purchase their vehicles with confidence.

“Many van buyers may be put off from purchasing diesel vehicles in light of the diesel emissions policy, which was recently announced by London Mayor Sadiq Khan. However, understanding the facts about the standards and associated ULEZ is important. The ULEZ proposal will operate separately from the Congestion Charge and the Low Emission Zone requirements, and, if approved, will come into force from September 2020. Under the plans, all polluting vehicles will have to pay a daily charge, which may come as a shock considering former PM Tony Blair encouraged drivers to switch from petrol to diesel some years ago,” said Owner David Spear.

The Government is due to publish updated clean air plans later this month, an update that is required to help meet EU-mandated air quality limits, which currently aren’t met in many areas of the country. Under the new air quality plan, the Government is expected to tackle the issue of diesel vehicles head on, despite Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s support for diesel vehicles. Brown’s reduced duty on low sulphur fuel actually led to an increase in diesel vehicle registrations, which jumped from 3.45 million to 8.2 million in a single year.

All vehicles, aged over four years, and petrol vehicles more than 13 years old will face the daily charge in the planned ULEZ, a charge that is applicable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including public holidays and weekends. The ULEZ charge will not apply to black taxis however. The ULEZ will be the same as the current Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ), and marked by identifiable road signs as with the CCZ, no toll booths or barriers will be present.

“The introduction of the ULEZ is designed to improve air quality in the capital, and will have a significant and positive impact in reducing the 9,400 deaths in London directly attributed to air quality related illness. There are higher proposed fees for buses, coaches and HGVs that do not meet the emissions standards, and drivers of these vehicles could face charges of up to £100 per day. Currently the ULEZ is only due to affect van users in London, and van users operating outside of London will remain unaffected under the new plans. Vehicle owners should consider upgrading and renewing their vehicles within the 4-year period. Commercial vehicles are work tools that need to be reliable and in top condition if they are to prove an effective tool for the respective business. Building in a regular renewal plan will ensure the quality is maintained and should be part of this process,” concluded David.

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