As plans to introduce and roll out Clean Air Zones in cities across the UK, experts are warning operators of HGV’s and Vans that delivering into some city centres is likely to incur considerable extra costs in the near future.
Clean Air Zones (CAZ) are areas in which local councils have brought measures into place to improve the air quality. The creation of CAZ in major UK cities and possibly beyond is part of the government’s broader Air Quality Plan, which aims to improve air quality and address sources of pollution.
If the operator’s HGV, LGV or van fails to meet the required environmental standards the driver is charged a fee to enter the zone.
The first Clean Air Zone was launched in Bath on the 15 March while Birmingham is set to roll out its own on the 1 June. Other cities have been earmarked for similar projects including Oxford, Bristol, Manchester and Nottingham.
London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is also set to be vastly expanded to cover a broader area from 25 October.
Whilst larger companies operating fleets of trucks and vans are likely to be prepared for the introduction of Clean Air Zones in UK cities, Paul Hollick, the chairman of the Association of Fleet Professionals, says he’s concerned about a lack of awareness elsewhere.
Speaking to Autocar he said: “Fleets of five-to-45 vehicles won’t have a dedicated fleet manager, won’t be a member of the AFP and won’t read the fleet press, and then it will just hit them because it isn’t widely known about what’s going on in the normal press. Small and medium-size enterprises are ill-educated about this topic, and it will sneak up and bite them.”
“The biggest impact will be the expansion of the ULEZ. Everyone is bracing themselves for when it goes live in October, because it has big ramifications for national fleets,”
“We would much rather have a national scheme, rather than localised schemes with different variants.
“Auto-pay is a concern for us: we need a way for fleets to be able to pay automatically. As the number of cities that are doing CAZs rises, that becomes more and more complicated for us to be able to manage.
“At the moment, it’s manageable and we know where everything is. But it would be better if it were steered nationally, rather than locally, because that creates distortion, particularly around fleet businesses, as everyone forgets about fleets.”
Find out more at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/driving-in-a-clean-air-zone