Ulez: Preparing For Life Inside The Ultra Low Emission Zone

With the date confirmed for the introduction of London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) it's time to get informed.

With the final date confirmed for the introduction of London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), it's time to start getting informed, so that you can allow ample time for your fleet to ensure compliance across the board.

What the Ultra Low Emission Zone Means for Hauliers

London's Mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed that the date for the commencement of ULEZ is 8 April 2019. Once it comes into effect, any vehicles that operate within the designated zone will be required to pay a daily charge. The ULEZ charge is on top of the Congestion Charge that’s already in place, but it will replace the newly enforced T-Charge (which affects pre Euro-4 vehicles) that came into effect in October 2017.

The zone will be in operation 24/7 and covers the same geographical area as the current Congestion Charge, with Mr. Khan expressing his wish to extend it as far as the South and North Circular roads by 2021.

The ULEZ covers all kinds of vehicles, including motorcycles, cars, vans and HGVs, and the daily charge is set in accordance with the vehicles' size, weight and emission compliance. HGVs that don’t meet the Euro-6 emission standards will incur a charge of £100 per day, while smaller vehicles (including vans) that are non-Euro-6 compliant will have to pay £12.50 per day to operate within the restriction zone. 

Why Do We Need ULEZ?

The toxicity of the UK capital's air is a massive problem, with long-ranging effects including lung damage in young children, chronic illness and premature death. The freight industry is a major contributor to emissions, and Transport for London (TfL) and Mr. Khan are committed to improving the air quality in vulnerable inner-city communities. By enforcing the legislation of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone, they are addressing the situation head-on in order to reduce pollution and instil a greener culture within the transport industry.

Consider Your Options

The emissions standards affect vehicles that are more than ten years old, so in reality the ULEZ will not have a huge effect on the freight industry. However, for those operators running older fleets, there are options. 

Legacy vehicles can be retrofitted with ULEZ-compliant technology through the CVRAS: the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme. The scheme allows manufacturers to fit technology to vans, buses and HGVs to enable compliancy to the clean air standards. The manufacturer must be certified to carry out the retrofitting of technology and the devices used must be approved. 

You can also choose to outsource loads within the zone to other operators with compliant vehicles. The most effective way of doing this is through the use of a freight exchange platform like Haulage Exchange. The exchange works to facilitate the consolidation of loads through collaboration with other operators, reducing empty miles, improving logistics management and effectively playing a part to lower the rate of emissions. The concept can be further exploited by connecting larger non-compliant vehicle operators with smaller Euro-6 compliant ones, allowing them to carry out distribution within the clean air zone.

While there's been much ado about it, the fact is that the Ultra Low Emission Zone is coming. However, it almost certainly won't have as negative an impact on haulage companies as some in the industry argue. By being proactive and thinking outside the box, the transition to compliance can be relatively pain-free.

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange is the leading service for matching haulage jobs with available vehicles. They also provide expert articles on issues like the ultra low emission zone and other freight industry related topics. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.

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