Fleets pledge to buy 65,000 electric vans as ULEZ goes live

Some of the UK’s largest van fleet operators – including Arval, Mitie, British Heart Foundation and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets – have made the Clean Van Commitment.

They join the likes of Tesco, Engie and Network Rail in committing their van fleets to move from diesel to zero emissions over the next nine years.

The UK’s 4 million diesel vans contribute 30% of UK road transport’s nitrous oxide emissions, which is harmful to human health. At the moment there are just 5,000 zero-emission vans on UK roads, and at current rates it would take more than 3,000 years to wipe out diesel from the entire national van fleet.

The Clean Van Commitment (CVC) is a public pledge to move to zero emission vans in cities by 2028.

The nine new signatories are Arval, Mitie, Siemens, British Heart Foundation, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Novus Environmental, Commercial Group, Bywaters and Poplar Harca. They take the number of signatories to 25, and vans pledged under the CVC to 65,674, or one in 60 of the current national fleet.

Chris Large, senior partner at Global Action Plan, the charity behind the CVC, said: “We can count the commercially available electric van models on one hand – and this will not meet our signatories’ needs.

“There is an incredible new market at a time when the UK motor industry is talking of job losses. Some of our signatories are now turning to UK start-ups to meet supply because established players cannot give them the vans they need.”

The London Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which goes live from today (Monday, April 8), means that some vehicles will be charged £12.50 a day to enter the zone. Larger vehicles, such as lorries, buses and coaches, will be charged £100 a day.

If the CVC signatories didn’t make this switch, they could stand to incur an estimated £96 million in ULEZ charges over the next 10 years. 

Eddie Parker, product manager LCV at Arval, said: “Arval are pleased to join the Clean Air Commitment, to encourage the take-up of zero tailpipe emission vans in cities. It mirrors closely our global focus upon Smart Mobility and improvements in environmental health and sustainable development.”

John Maingay, director of policy and influencing at the British Heart Foundation, added: “Air pollution represents the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK, and almost six out of 10 deaths related to outdoor air pollution worldwide are a result of heart disease or stroke. We desperately need urgent action to clean up the UK’s air.

“By signing up to the Clean Van Commitment, we are demonstrating our commitment to protecting the nation’s health from air pollution. We urge other charities and organisations with vehicle fleets to follow our lead and pledge to moving towards zero emissions, helping to potentially save thousands of lives in the future.” 

The Clean Van Commitment is coordinated by Global Action Plan and supported by OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) and Engie.

TfL publishes London ULEZ figures

The proportion of compliant vehicles entering London’s ULEZ has increased by more than a third, since the T-charge was introduced in February 2017.

There were 55,457 compliant vehicles that drove into the zone, on average, each day in March, while 35,578 vehicles failed to meet the latest emissions standards. If those numbers are repeated now the ULEZ charge is live, Transport for London (TfL) would receive some £500,000 each day, or £175 million-plus per year in ULEZ charges. 

TfL figures also show that there has been an 11% decrease in the total number of vehicles driving within the zone over the same period each day (some 11,000 vehicles).

The central London ULEZ will operate in the same area as the current Congestion Charge zone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It replaces the T-Charge and operates alongside the Congestion Charge. 

Motorists who drive into the zone in a vehicle that does not meet the new emission standard (petrol vehicles that do not meet Euro 4 standards and diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 6) will have to pay a daily charge.

Petrol vehicles that meet the standard have been widely available since 2006. 

There will be two ULEZ charge levels: £12.50 a day for cars, vans and motorbikes and £100 a day for lorries, buses and coaches. 

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