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Sam Sterry's blog: Avoid the impact of ULEZ

Date: 27 February 2019

Europcar Mobility Group UK's head of SME helps firms prepare for London's new clean air zone and keep their fleets running.

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) comes into play on 8 April 2019, in central London, replacing the existing T-Charge. Many company car fleets will be unaffected by the ULEZ, but with signs going up around the capital and plans to roll out ULEZ in other parts of the country, SMEs should be preparing for the change. Firms failing to clean up their act could be hit by a daily charge to travel within the ULEZ.

The introduction of the ULEZ is designed to reduce the air pollution which impacts the health of Londoners. Vehicles need to meet exhaust emission standards, otherwise they will be charged to drive in central London. And London mayor Sadiq Khan has already announced plans to expand the ULEZ to include an even larger area by October 2021, which could see even more businesses hit, unless they take stock of their fleets.

SMEs need to understand the requirements of the ULEZ and whether their vehicles will comply. Cars and vans need to meet the Euro 4 standard for petrol, or Euro 6 for diesel, otherwise they'll be charged £12.50 per day. That could soon start to add up for businesses already struggling to control their fleet costs.

The best way for businesses to avoid the ULEZ charge is to upgrade their fleets. And just last week Transport for London (TfL) announced a scrappage scheme for light commercial vehicles to give firms a helping hand. TfL is offering to scrap vehicles that do not meet the new ULEZ standards and give firms funds to replace the vehicle. But even that may take too much time and expense for many SMEs.  

Whilst the cash sum could be useful to go towards new vehicle acquisition, some businesses may decide to use those funds for other purposes. If they don't want to face the financial outlay for a new vehicle or commit to a lengthy lease, van rental provides a genuine alternative. And with one of the youngest van rental fleets in the UK, Europcar is offering businesses participating in the scrappage scheme with a special discount to access vehicles that are fully compliant with the new ULEZ, available from locations in and around the perimeter of the capital.

By using rental vehicles, SMEs can upgrade their fleet to meet their day-to-day needs and to avoid the ULEZ charge by ensuring they are operating a fleet of reliable, fully serviced and maintained vehicles that meet the latest emissions targets.