The Knowledge: How ultra-clean zones could benefit your business

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone is upon us, and the consensus is that the scheme, which will charge drivers of older vehicles who want or need to head into the centre of London, is an undeniably good thing from an environmental point of view.

“The introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), is a really positive step in the right direction towards improving London’s air quality,” said Eddie Curzon, London director of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry).

On the flipside, the CBI is not alone in calling for greater clarity from the authorities. Curzon said: “Smaller firms can struggle to afford the switch to low-emission vehicles, and for some larger vehicles, there are simply no low-emission alternatives available. To make a success of the ULEZ, it is crucial that City Hall works with firms to help them take advantage of new technologies, and support them, where required, to accelerate the take up of low-emission vehicles.”

The BVRLA has also called for greater long-term clarity, with chief executive Gerry Keaney saying: “Fleets are already choosing the vehicles they will operate for the next few years. For many, 2025 is now. We urgently need a clear, long-term vision that includes the right support for SMEs and other essential road users.”

One thing that might help is the van scrappage scheme, greater details of which have now emerged.

Microbusinesses – those with 10 employees or fewer – will be eligible for the grant, as will charities. They will be able to claim as much as £6,000 to put towards a new van, but only if said van is electric. Because of the £8000 Government grant towards EVs, this extra incentive is designed to be put towards the running of the vehicle. If it is a Euro6 van then applicants will be restricted to £3500.

To qualify, businesses need to be based in London, or to be regular visitors to the city – defined as having gone into the congestion charge at least 52 times in the previous six months. Those who are frequent visitors that are not based in London will also only qualify for the £3500 grant.

 

London van scrappage scheme in detail

£6000

The maximum the London scrappage scheme will pay out if you trade in an old van

 

£12.50

The amount that van and car drivers will have to pay to enter if their vehicle doesn’t meet Euro6 (diesel) or Euro4 (petrol) standards

£160

The fine for not paying the charge

£100

The amount vehicles over 3.5 tonnes will be liable to pay if they don’t meet EuroVI standards

 

Low-emission zones and remarketing plans

ULEZ piece-John GilbertJon Gilbert, business development director of CVs at BCA, on the effect ULEZs could have on remarketing•

Be clear about the engine
When remarketing, advertisers need to add in details that they might not have done so in the past. Make sure that the Euro emissions status is included. “It is becoming increasingly important to be clear on the engine variant, especially in the South East,” said Gilbert. “The introduction of ULEZ has focused buyers towards Euro6 models and this is likely to spread gradually across the country as the number of Clean Air Zones increases.”

Euro5 not dead
The introduction of the charging zones hasn’t totally killed the desire for older vans, though, as Gilbert points out: “Euro5 vehicles remain in demand across the UK and the market is robust due to the growth in demand for logistics, construction projects and a host of other factors.”

Euro6 pricier, but only due to age
So far there hasn’t been a knock-on effect on values, though, with Euro6’s higher resale levels purely down to their relative newness. “When looking at comparative values it is important to understand that Euro6 vans are newer and often lower mileage, so will naturally attract higher prices,” said Gilbert.

Electric boom yet to come
The used electric market is yet to see a big surge in suplly or demand, though. Gilbert said: “Volumes of electric and hybrid commercial vehicles reaching the remarketing sector remain very low and there are no indicators that suggest that this is likely to change any time soon.”

Group similar vehicles
“BCA’s first ever ULEZ sale at Blackbushe attracted a large crowd of online and in-lane buyers,” said Gilbert. “The multi-vendor event only featured Euro6 compliant or electric/hybrid commercial vehicles that can enter the ULEZ without charge. Confident bidding throughout the sale saw 148 vehicles sold for an average value in excess of 104% of CAP Clean, with one vendor achieving an average of 113% of CAP Clean.”