A third of commercial vehicles currently on the road do not meet the required emissions standards to enter Clean Air Zones (CAZs).
Fleets operating these older vehicles could be at risk of incurring fines of up to £1,000, warns software provider r2c Online.
R2c’s fleet management platform, which currently hosts more than one million vehicles, allows businesses to record the emission standards of every vehicle, and research of vans, trucks, HGVs and other assets on its system suggests that 34% of all commercial vehicles will not meet the emissions standards of zones such as Birmingham and London as they are Euro 5 or below.
In 2021 Clean Air Zones have launched, or will launch, in Birmingham, Bath, Oxford, Bristol and Portsmouth alongside an expansion of the London Ultra Low Emission Zone in October, while Manchester is slated for 2022.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has told MPs, however, that Greater Manchester’s clean air zone (CAZ) is “completely unworkable” and will “damage” local businesses.
In the case of Birmingham, that means a daily charge of £50 for entry while for Bristol and London the charge rises to £100. In the case of London, fines for non-payment, unregistered non-compliant vehicles, incorrect data entry of vehicle details and slow payment begin at £160 and rise to £1,000.
“When we undertook the research, we were shocked at the number of vehicles that will be hit with charges if they enter certain urban zones,” said Tim Meadows, managing director at r2c.
“Also, not all zones require the same emissions standards, or have the same charges, and so if fleets do not keep complete records of the standards of each specific vehicle and where they are compliant or not, it becomes a very complex puzzle to solve.
“If you know exactly which vehicle can go where, you can plan accordingly, re-routing or reallocating vehicles to where they are best suited, and avoiding some very nasty surprises when charges appear due to non-compliant vehicles entering zones.”
Commercial vehicles with Euro 5 emissions standards were one of the biggest areas for concern: they account for just over 8% of commercial fleets in r2c’s database and in a Class D zone such as in the newly-launched one in Birmingham, a Euro V diesel HGV will incur a £50 daily charge. In the expanded London zone, which goes live in October, the charge is £100.
“Although Euro 6 for vans, trucks and HGVs were introduced more than five years ago (meaning they are often exempt from CAZ charges), there are still many commercial vehicles not at those emission standards, and if you operate in urban areas and a third of your vehicles are non-compliant, your costs are going to mount very quickly indeed,” said Meadows.