ULEZ, or the Ultra Low Emissions Zone, is the new policy introduced in London in April 2019 to help reduce levels of pollution from vehicles. While it is certainly early days, it’s already set to impact an estimated 2.5 million vehicles in the capital each year. And those numbers will only rise, with the zone due for a major expansion in 2021.
But what does all of this actually mean for haulage companies? In this article, we’ll aim to sum up some of the most important facts about the new policy for the transport sector.
What is the ULEZ and How does it Affect Me?
Replacing the existing T-Charge, and coming on top of the London Congestion Charge fee in the same zone, ULEZ is the name given to the part of London where the most polluting vehicles must pay a levy to drive.
The first thing to note is that prices vary by vehicle. So a car user would have to pay £12.50 per day on top of the £11.50 congestion charge, and a fine of £160 for breach (reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days).
But haulage companies face much steeper penalties and operators must pay £100 to bring a noncompliant HGV into the zone. To avoid this charge, vehicles must meet Euro-6 emissions standards – the baseline for the overwhelming majority sold in the EU since September 2015.
It’s even more crucial for hauliers and managers to stay on top of their payments, as well. The top fine for driving a noncompliant HGV in the zone without paying the mandatory fee is £1,000, or £500 if paid within 14 days.
How do I Pay?
If anyone in your fleet goes into Central London often, haulage companies can sign up for autopay for an additional annual fee of £10. Otherwise, individual payments can be made via Transport for London’s (TfL’s) website.
The Mayor’s office currently estimates that the policy will generate an additional £174 million in revenue in just its first year. It’s certainly a money maker, and concrete plans to expand have already been made.
At present, the ULEZ covers just eight square miles in the centre of the city. On 26 October 2021, though, this is set to increase massively, to a staggering 146 square miles. This new, expanded ULEZ would cover the entire area between the North and South Circular roads.
Of course, workers from haulage companies stand to benefit from improved air quality and lower pollution in the city as much as anyone else and nobody disputes the need for compliancy. But it’s also crucial that transport firms operating in the capital keep a keen eye on changes to ensure they don’t get caught out. The move to Euro-6 standards in production will help many, but operators and managers should still make sure they have clear and up to date data on every vehicle in their fleet or risk hefty financial penalties.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage companies with jobs in road transport and haulage work, and is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.
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