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UK faces risk of multiple low-emission zones, says EST

Date: 16 December 2011   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

More low-emission zones could be in the pipeline if the UK continually fails to meet its air-quality targets.

That's the view of Nigel Underdown, head of transport advice at the Energy Saving Trust, who believes the UK could be looking at more areas such as London's Low Emission Zone (LEZ) throughout the country if current levels continue.

Speaking at the BVRLA's conference, which took place this month at the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, he said: "40 out of 44 UK emissions zones have breached EU air-quality targets. We may see other areas following London and introducing their own low-emissions zones."

While this is unlikely to have an immediate impact on fleets running cars, those with older vans could be severely compromised. Underdown said that if 10-year old vans become non-viable then it would send "a ripple through the industry".

Speaking about more imminent matters, he said that company car drivers are now adept at choosing a vehicle that best suits their needs based on cost, but few factor in future BIK rises and increasing costs during the buying process.

He said: "By now, most company car drivers, when they choose a vehicle, do their sums, or at least find a tool on the net that does. What most drivers don't do is see how that will change in future." He also claimed that 99g/km vehicles were rapidly being seen as the watershed mark for fleets rather than 120g/km cars.

Underdown went on to address the issue of real-life mpg figures as opposed to those quoted by manufacturers.

He said: "In practice, people will achieve around 15mpg less than the manufacturer's claim, and the gap increases with lower-carbon vehicles. Companies expecting 20% better fuel consumption [from cars fitted with economical features] probably won't get it, primarily because technology upgrades are for urban driving - stop/start for example - and fleets running vehicles on motorways won't see the benefits."