9 April 2019

In 2014, previous Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced plans to introduce the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) by September 2020.

More than a year ahead of schedule, the new ULEZ came into force on April 8th 2019. In this article we explore what the ULEZ is, and what it means for businesses that operate in, or are planning on expanding into, Central London.

What is an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)? 

Put simply, the ULEZ is a set area where all vehicles entering must meet strict emission standards, and those that do not will face a daily charge to travel within the zone.

The new ULEZ will cover Central London and applies to the existing Congestion Zone charge area, but there are plans to extend the ULEZ boundary in 2021 to cover the North and South circular roads.

What are the charges in the ULEZ?

There will be two charge levels, based on the size of the vehicle entering the zone.

  • Level one – Cars, vans and motorbikes (up to and including 3.5 tonnes) will be charged £12.50 per day, in addition to the existing £11.50 Congestion Charge
  • Level two – HGVs, lorries (over 3.5 tonnes), buses and coaches (over 5 tonnes) will be charged £100 per day, in addition to the existing £11.50 Congestion Charge

Which vehicles will be impacted by the changes?

  • All petrol vehicles that do not meet Euro 4 standards
  • All diesel vehicles (including vans, minibuses and HGVs) that do not meet Euro 6 standards
  • Motorbikes that do not meet Euro 3 standards

To find out more information on whether specific vehicles in a fleet are entitled to a discount, and to see a map of where the ULEZ operates, visit the Government website here.

What can businesses do to prepare their fleets?

Now that the ULEZ has been introduced, businesses need to reassess their supply chain and consider the various vehicles that are already in their fleet.

At the same time, they need to ensure that the necessary investments and budgets are planned well into the future to ensure that they are not caught out by unexpected, unforeseen penalty charges.

Leading on from this, it is essential that fleet managers take into account the journeys that their employees are taking, and whether alternative routes can be used instead.

Nearly all in-car navigation systems have the option to avoid toll road or charge zones. But if this isn’t possible, then other working arrangements could be made, such as remote working or car sharing.

One of the best ways to prepare is to consider upgrading certain vehicles within the fleet.

Using fleet management software and telematics data, fleet managers will be able to identify vehicles that emit the highest levels of CO2, and adjust their upgrade schedule accordingly. This means that they will be able to use vehicles that aren’t impacted by the ULEZ charges.

Further reading

To find out more about implementing green fleet vehicles, reducing costs and improving fleet operations, take a look at the articles listed below:

In summary, businesses that operate within the new ULEZ need to ensure that they are considering all available options, particularly when it comes to upgrading to vehicles that are more environmentally friendly.

To find out more about our fleet management and leasing, employee benefits solutions and driver services, call a member of our team on 0844 854 5100 or email CSalmon@sgfleet.com.