By Tom Roberts
Research from R2c has found that over a third of commercial vehicles in the UK are not up to the required emissions standards to be able to drive in Clean Air Zones (CAZs), meaning that if those vehicles do enter the zones they could risk fines of anything up to £1,000!
R2c, a fleet management software company based in the UK, has released stats from its systems showing that 34% of the UK’s vans, pickup trucks and other commercial vehicles will not be able to enter Clean Air Zones - such as the ones that have popped up in Birmingham and London - because the vehicles are only Euro 5 emission standard or lower.
Where Are CAZs Located In The UK?
Right now, Clean Air Zones have sprung up in Bath, Birmingham, Oxford, Bristol and Portsmouth, and we’ve seen a significant expansion of the London Ultra Low Emission Zone.
Finally, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the soon-to-appear Manchester CAZ is “unworkable”, it’s still set for its 2022 debut. There are also plenty more CAZs in early planning stages in other cities across the country.
Which Vehicles Are Okay To Drive Into CAZs?
Any vehicle that meets the emissions standards listed below, is okay to drive into a CAZ without charge or the potential of fines:
Euro 4 or better (most petrol vehicles made after the end of 2006 onwards meet this standard).
Euro 6 or better (most diesel vehicles made after the end of 2015 onwards meet this standard).
The electric part is fine, but whatever diesel or petrol engine your vehicle uses as well has to meet the emissions standards explained above.
Fully Electric Or Hydrogen Fuel Cell
Any vehicles in this category are 100% compliant and will avoid all CAZ charges.
How Much Could I Pay In Daily Charges & Fines?
What this means for operators of older commercial vehicles is that upon entering the zones they will incur daily charges and potential fines.
In Birmingham’s CAZ, it’s a daily charge of £50 for entry, while in the Bristol and London CAZs it’s £100! In the case of London, non-payment of the daily charges, driving an unregistered non-compliant vehicle inside it, and even entering the wrong data or vehicle details into the payment system, can incur fines starting at £160 and going as high as £1,000.
How Do I Make Sure My Vehicle Can Enter A CAZ?
If you drive or operate a fleet of high-emission vehicles and need access to the CAZs, there’s never been a better time to sort out your fleet's emissions standard and shift the older vehicles on your books.
Checking which emissions rating your vehicle currently is very easy and can be done on the Government's Clean Air Zones page. If your vehicle is Euro 6 or uses a cleaner fuel type such as electricity, you’ll be fine.
Alternatively, you could get yourself a new vehicle - any new vehicle you acquire today will be fine, so long as it meets the emissions standards explained above. Leasing a new vehicle is definitely the cheapest way to do this - either as a single vehicle or part of a fleet, depending on your needs - and comes with a variety of benefits explained in this article about how leasing a commercial vehicle works.