Enterprise is urging truck and van fleets to plan now to avoid paying charges and potentially fines when London’s Ultra-Low-Emission Zone (ULEZ) expands from October 25.
The expanded ULEZ will encompass an area that is 18 times larger, bounded by the North Circular and South Circular Roads, and runs through many neighbourhoods previously unaffected by the clean air zone (CAZ).
Enterprise anticipates that the effect of the expanded ULEZ, coup;led with higher seasonal demand for deliveries ahead of Christmas and Black Friday, and increased demand for post-accident replacement rental as a result of winter driving conditions, could lead to unprecedented demand for both vans and HGVs.
It is estimated that as many as 35,000 vans and 3,000 trucks driving in to London every day do not currently meet the required Euro 6 emissions standard and will be liable for the expanded ULEZ charges.
A daily charge runs from midnight to midnight, so a vehicle that enters the zone at 11pm and leaves at 3am will have to pay two daily charges.
The daily ULEZ charge for non-Euro 6-compliant trucks is £100 with a penalty charge from £500, in addition to any Congestion Charge or Low Emission Zone (LEZ) charges that apply.
A small company driving only five non-compliant vans in the new ULEZ zone for 250 days a year will still pay more than £15,000 per annum in additional costs, according to Enterprise.
An increase in online shopping and home deliveries over the past 12 months has already led to higher demand for daily and long-term commercial vehicle rental.
Any commercial vehicles more than five years old are unlikely to meet the standard, as Euro 6 was only required on new vehicles from September 2016 onwards.
Danny Glynn, managing director of Enterprise Flex-E-Rent, suggests that many companies, which still own older vans and trucks and operate them in and around Greater London, will end up paying fines and additional charges.
“Businesses need to plan now to ensure they have access to Euro 6-compliant rental vehicles, as demand for HGVs and vans has increased through the pandemic,” he said.
“We are working closely with manufacturers and the supply chain to ensure we can provide a fleet of low-emission Euro 6 commercial vehicles to enable businesses operating in the area to be compliant with the expanded ULEZ.”
Demand for rental is already high, says Glynn, and will only increase as the deadline nears. “It will also be difficult to pass on these charges as higher costs to customers if the only explanation is that the business didn’t plan ahead,” he added.
In order to ensure hygiene and safety, Enterprise introduced its Complete Clean Pledge in 2020 to further enhance how all its vehicles, including trucks and vans, are thoroughly cleaned between each rental.
This includes washing, vacuuming, general wipe down, and sanitising with a disinfectant that meets leading health authority requirements, with particular attention to more than 20 high-touch points.