Refrigerated van fleets have less than 12 months to upgrade to Euro 6 standards or face annual ULEZ charges of £3,000 a year.
That’s according to insulated van converter CoolVan, which is urging food suppliers to 'future-proof' their fridge van fleets ahead of a further emissions clampdown on diesel vehicles operating in London.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced that he was bringing forward plans to extend the Congestion Charge Zone in 2021 and would introduce a new Ultra-Low Emissions Zone in central London next spring. The ULEZ will operate within the same area as the current Congestion Charging Zone, and comes into force on 8 April 2019. From this date, only vehicles which meet Euro 6 emissions standards will avoid a new, additional £12.50 daily charge.
The new charge will be applied on top of the £11.50 weekday Congestion Charge and replace the £10 Toxicity Charge that currently applies to older (Euro 4) diesel vehicles and came into force last year.
Unlike the Congestion Charge and T-Charge, the new ULEZ charges will be enforced 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Failing to pay the charge will result in a £130 penalty (£65 if paid within 14 days).
“The new Ultra Low Emissions Zone comes into effect next spring – so food distributors operating in London effectively have less than a year to make sure they are compliant or face a sharp increase in operating costs,” CoolVan MD Chris Warburton said. “Next April, the price of driving a non-compliant fridge van into central London will jump by at least £250 a month, which – in terms of monthly rental – is likely to be higher than the differential cost of upgrading to a Euro 6 diesel van. High intensity users could be looking at paying almost £400 a month just to service their customers. Across a fleet of 12 vehicles, that's a hike of around £54,000 a year.
“Our advice is to replace older fridge vans early, as lead times are likely to lengthen as the April 2019 deadline approaches.”
The Government has committed to making significant improvements to urban air quality after the High Court found it in breach of its obligation to meet much tighter air quality standards, in particular by targeting older diesel vehicles.
Several other UK cities – including Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton – are planning to introduce similar restrictions on older diesels operating in the urban environment, with as many as 15 local authorities preparing to follow suit. Oxford, for example, is proposing a complete ban on petrol and diesel vehicles entering the city centre from 2020.
The new ULEZ in London will affect an estimated 60,000 vehicles a day and as well as diesel vans will also apply to older petrol vehicles. Proposals to extend the ULEZ to the North and South Circular roads by 2021 are currently under consideration.