Dawsongroup | finance

Clean Air Zones – changes you need to be ready for

There is already a long-term plan in place to cut carbon and nitrogen dioxide levels in travel and improve air quality, especially in towns and cities. Part of the armoury in this ongoing battle are Clean Air Zones, or CAZs.

CAZs have already been rolled out across many big cities including Bath, Birmingham, and Portsmouth and of course London with its extended Ultra-Low Emissions Zone, with further local authorities set to follow suit in the future – Bristol, Greater Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Sheffield and Bradford among them.

Hit on haulage

Most of these schemes target and penalise the use of older, more polluting commercial vehicles specifically; clean air zones are split into classes A to D – but all except A include HGVs.

At the moment HGV truck tractor units, rigid vehicles and other heavy commercial vehicles are only exempt from clean air zone restrictions and charges if they meet Euro 6 (VI) emissions standards – that generally means those vehicles registered after 2014.

The Bradford scheme coming this spring, for example, will be a Class C CAZ, affecting commercial vehicles – including buses, coaches, lorries, vans and taxis – but not privately-owned passenger cars. Operating 24/7, 365 days a year, it will be enforced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, recording all vehicle movements in and out of the zone.

Non-compliant HGVs will be charged £50 per day to travel in the zone – or £18,250 per truck, per year, to move across the zone daily.

In London HGVs11 not meeting the required emissions standards pay even more with a daily charge of £200 or £100 to enter London’s Low Emissions Zone and Ultra Low Emissions Zone respectively.

Preparing for the changes

With the Bradford case as an example, it is clear that businesses, even those not in the immediate vicinity of current CAZs, need to prepare.  CAZ’s as they continue to come into force across the country, have a particular impact on HGV operators who will need to take them into consideration when planning fleet changes and making other business decisions.

Upgrading your fleet, whether to be compliant with emissions standards, or going the whole hog and moving over to plug-in hybrid, hydrogen and EV trucks, can represent a significant cost burden – but asset financing options can make that transition manageable.

Dawsongroup Finance can help operators achieve the flexibility they need both in terms of their fleet operations and financial management. Our asset financing options can help you get into the vehicles you need to avoid falling foul of the CAZ regulations, without impacting your all-important capital reserves. With different packages and options available, you can plan for the future, while managing cash flow.

In a shifting landscape, where further emission crackdowns and technological developments are set to change the goalposts again, the flexibility our deals can provide can help you be ready for now, and also avoid costly future surprises; your business will certainly want to swerve the risk of being stuck with a fleet that becomes non-compliant down the line.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help you prepare for a greener future info@dgfinance.co.uk or by calling 01425 474070.