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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Clean air zones – know the rules or pay the price

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RESEARCH from Europcar Mobility Group UK has highlighted a lack of awareness with regard to Clean Air Zone regulations

The findings from research among 300 fleet managers across the country has been published in its latest whitepaper ‘Clearing the Air’: Are Fleet Managers Ready for the Clean Air Revolution?

With over 87% of fleet managers questioned saying that their business will be impacted by the growing number of clean air zones across the UK, the whitepaper shows that despite welcoming improvements to air quality in our cities and towns, fleet managers will face new challenges when it comes to building a flexible fleet that not only meets the demands of the business itself, but also meets the rules of the Clean Air Zones (CAZ) and London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

Key data

  • 1 in 5 businesses are not aware of the rules for different zones
  • For 89% of businesses a quarter or more of their fleet need to enter a Clean Air Zone more than once a week
  • Just under 30% of businesses had not calculated the potential cost for their fleet to enter a Clean Air Zone or the extended London ULEZ
  • 64% of businesses plan on extending their use of public transport and/or shared mobility solutions for their employees in response to the growing number of Clean Air Zones
  • 40% said that they intend to use long-term/flexible rental as a way of increasing the number of ‘Clean Air Zone friendly’ vehicles in their fleets
  • 48% of businesses plan to decrease the use of ‘grey fleet’ vehicles to ensure they do not face additional costs

Ron Santiago, Managing Director, Europcar Mobility Group UK said: “Clean Air Zones are a welcome move in the fight for improved air quality in our towns and cities but the whitepaper findings highlight how important it is that fleet and business travel managers understand the rules and regulations for each of the Clean Air Zones, if they are not to fall foul of potentially heavy fines and daily admission charges for non-compliant vehicles.

“A lack of awareness could impact the bottom line for many companies and a lack of planning will reduce their ability to remain flexible to changes in business demand.

“We believe that long-term rental, along with shared mobility solutions and a greater use of public transport will be a valuable part of sustainable transport strategies going forward. For fleet managers, having the ability to manage costs and ‘flex’ their fleet in response to fluctuations in demand is key to helping their companies thrive.”

For 1 in 5 businesses the main concern around switching to a lower emissions fleet is cost. The ability to build a flexible fleet that does not put cashflow or capital expenditure under pressure is paramount for businesses that rely on their vehicles to get goods and people in the right place at the right time.

Potential cost savings can be made through the rental of compliant vehicles. With charges of £8 per day for cars, taxis and LGVs for Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone and £12.50 for London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, the annual saving for a business which has just 25 vehicles a week entering a Clean Air Zone could be up to £16,250. However, businesses that aren’t prepared could see a significant rise in outgoings.

Another area of concern is the reliance on ‘grey fleet’ vehicles which tend to be older and more polluting, with nearly half of businesses questioned looking to reduce the number of employee-owned vehicles being used for business trips. However, with current supply issues still ongoing and likely to continue for the first half of this year, ensuring consistent access to compliant vehicles will require forward planning.

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