Bringing forward the introduction of the London Ultra Low Emissions Zone could lead to an increase in the number of vans operating in London in the short-medium term.
Due to the earlier April 2019 date, fleet software specialist Fleetcheck believes that businesses may end up shifting payload away from non-compliant trucks into compliant, multiple LCVs – simply because of the limited number of compliant vehicles at their disposal.
“Trucks are operated on much longer replacement cycles than vans, so fleet operators will probably have larger numbers of compliant vans than trucks available in 2019,” Fleetcheck’s Managing Director Peter Golding explained. “The £100 charge for non-compliant trucks is a major disincentive. The obvious solution is that fleets will transfer loads to vans where possible. Thus, leading to more vehicles in the ULEZ.
“Whether this is a desirable outcome from an air quality point of view is obviously open to question, but it is an effect of the earlier deadline that would be no doubt unintended.”
He added that short-term changes in national and local government policy of this kind should be discouraged, because it made fleet planning very difficult: “Many businesses will continue to need to operate in the ULEZ and fairly fundamental changes of this kind, with limited notice, will have a definite impact on them,” he said.
“Fleets have been planning for the original ULEZ date for years and timing their vehicle replacement accordingly. To change that date at relatively short notice has a definite cost, either in terms of replacing vehicles earlier or operational compromises. While sorting out air quality problems in London and elsewhere is undoubtedly crucial, balanced against that is the impact that changing the deadline could have on businesses in terms of jobs and more.”