There couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be a delivery business in the UK that doesn’t know about the impending implications of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). How it affects operators will depend on a range of factors, including the size of their fleet and, of course, how often they travel in and out of London. But the fact remains that it will affect anyone working within the wider UK courier network, directly or indirectly, and the FTA (Freight Transport Association) has voiced concerns that some operators may be hit hard. |
What Does it Mean for Businesses?
To distil it down to a sentence, what the implementation of the ULEZ (on April 19, 2019) means is that any diesel vehicle that doesn’t comply with Euro 6 emissions standards will be charged a daily fee to enter the zone. For companies still running non-compliant vans, that £12.50 (per vehicle, per day) has the potential to add up to a whole lot of financial headache. With the heavy cost of upgrading to a fleet of compliant vehicles, the FTA says more needs to be done to ensure businesses aren’t forced to the wall, post ULEZ.
The Scrappage Scheme One of the measures put in place by TfL (Transport for London) to ease the pressure on small businesses is the Van Scrappage Scheme, which provides financial assistance in order to upgrade. The FTA has praised TfL for providing three clear options, which it says will help make for a smoother transition to the new emissions standards. They are: • £3,500 towards scrapping non-compliant vans and buying (or leasing) new ones • £6,000 towards purchasing an electric vehicle, running costs and scrappage • £3,500 towards scrappage for frequent users of the zone
Concern for Specialist Operators While the FTA has welcomed the scheme, and said it will be of great assistance to many microbusinesses (those operating with under ten employees) in order to deal with the financial implications of ULEZ, there are still concerns about specialist operators. Due to the low turnover threshold for eligibility, these companies may not be in line to receive the funding, and the cost of replacing their fleets with Euro 6 compliant vehicles may prove prohibitive.
Action and Reaction One positive aspect of the scheme, however, is that TfL has committed to careful reviewing of its uptake and being open to making modifications if and when necessary. This is good news for businesses whose courier network operates regularly within the Central London area. TfL’s Policy Manager has also pointed out the option of accessing second-hand vehicles for those businesses for which the costs of a new fleet are too high. Even though Euro 6 emissions compliant vehicles have only been on the market since 2016, their availability provides another, more affordable avenue for cash-strapped operators to upgrade.
Moving Towards the Future It’s no longer a case of ‘some day’, because the future is here now for all the hardworking operators in the UK’s vast courier network. And, while it’s true things have never been harder with Brexit and the Euro 6 emissions standards, it’s also never been a more exciting time to be part of a delivery industry that’s driving the change for cleaner air and a better world.
Author Plate Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their online courier network. Numerous transport exchange businesses are networked together on their website, trading jobs and capacity through what is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.
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