From the Extreme to Green
Last week the European Public Health Alliance voiced its concerns over vehicles producing toxic air levels. This comes at a time when the first city outside of London recently introduced a congestion zone.
On the 15th of March, Bath became the first city outside of the Capital to begin charging high polluting commercial vehicles for travel within the city centre. However, the EPHA is calling for cities across the UK to place tighter restrictions and bans for the worst offenders, in a bid to clamp down hard on the highest polluting vehicles.
The current restrictions are aimed at commercial vehicles, including buses, taxis and HGVs, which do not meet the current required emissions standards. This means if they are looking to travel to the city centre, a daily charge is applied. Currently personal use vehicles and motorbikes are exempt.
Even during lockdown with travel restrictions and less commuting, the city regularly saw pollution levels exceeding the legal limits for NO2.
Birmingham will soon be following suit with a Clean Air Zone being introduced from June 1st, followed by Bristol in October. Other UK cities such as Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle and Leicester look to be rolling out their CAZ policies later this year or early 2022.
The introduction of daily charges of course impacts companies, particularly in the private hire sector, who rely on fleets of vehicles and unrestricted travel. Whilst travel is still permitted in the CAZ, charges range from around £10 per day for LCV and private hire to between £50-100 for buses and coaches. This will impact revenue for an industry already struggling to get back on it’s feet following the pandemic but simultaneously will provide a more sustainable future for transport.
There are however several Government or Local Authority schemes which would provide local authorities with funding to support affected businesses and to aid fleet operators to modify and upgrade their vehicles to confirm with current legal emissions standards.
In addition, some areas are proposing incentivised policies for electric or hybrid taxis in a bid to encourage operators to invest in low emission, sustainable and environmentally friendly vehicles.
We recently wrote in detail about the changes which have been put in place since the announcement for Ultra Low Emission Zones and the increasing popularity of Electric Vehicles, which you can read more on here.
Are you in an area which has introduced a low emissions zone? If not, what are your thoughts on these proposals?
If you’re looking to expand your fleet ahead of changes in regulations and want to discuss sustainable, electrical transportation options, please get in touch and we can work with you and your finance requirements as well as introduce you to a trusted supplier.