The recent announcements regarding the government’s anticipated air quality improvements and the associated Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) proposal means one thing for small businesses and fleet owners – spiralling costs. In fact, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the additional cost of compliance could be in excess of 150% of the annual turnover for some small to medium sized businesses.
Light commercial vehicle (LCV) dealer David Spear Commercial Vehicles is just one company that is approached regularly for advice regarding the recent environmental crackdown, however, could a national scrappage scheme be the answer as suggested by the FTA?
“The proposed ULEZ is set to affect all vehicle types, not just LCVs. Cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will have to either make changes to meet exhaust emissions standards or pay a daily charge of up to £24 to travel. The fees could be up to £100 per day for buses, coaches and HGVs that do not meet ULEZ standards. This will of course have a knock-on effect in regards to the viability of many businesses across the country,” said Owner David Spear.
Whilst there is no doubt that as a country improvements must be made to enhance air quality, particularly in our most densely populated areas, like London and other UK cities, striking the right balance between reaping the associated health benefits and ensuring the least economic disruption is important.
The introduction of ULEZs and other clean air zones will put a number of businesses at risk, with job security and local prosperity being affected as a result. Specialist operators and small businesses who purchase second hand vehicles are likely to be the most affected, as when the low emission requirements are introduced there will only be five years’ worth of compliant HGVs in the national fleet. The aforementioned businesses and operators will have to upgrade their vehicles quickly and face huge costs.
“The cost of compliance for businesses and operators who own a large number of vans is likely to be even higher, and the immediate purchase of new, compliant vehicles will pose serious financial risks. There will be only two and a half years’ worth of compliant vans once the clean air zones are introduced. A tax break or a national scrappage scheme needs to be introduced to support the businesses, fleet operators and private vehicle owners affected by the proposed clean air zones. Funded by the government, a scrappage scheme will be particularly beneficial and will support the businesses and car drivers that need to deal with the proposed changes first hand,” concluded David.