ULEZ: where and when

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will replace the T-Charge from 8 April 2019. It will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, within the same area as the current Congestion Charging Zone (CCZ).

This means vehicles that do not meet the ULEZ standards will be charged for entering the ULEZ boundary (the current CCZ). For most vehicle types, including cars, motorcycles and vans (under 3.5 tonnes), there will be a £12.50 charge per day. Heavier vehicles, including HGVs (over 3.5 tonnes) and buses/coaches (over 5 tonnes) will be charged £100 per day.

From 25 October 2021, the area will expand to the inner London area bounded by the North and South Circular roads.

Are you meeting the ULEZ standards? 

The ULEZ standards are as follows:

  • Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles
  • Euro 4 for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro 6 for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro VI for lorries, buses and coaches and other specialist heavy vehicles

You can check your vehicle requirements, charges and exemption on the Transport for London ‘Check your vehicle‘ tool. This tool helps you to work out whether your vehicle meets the ULEZ standards. Any vehicle that meets the ULEZ standards will be able to travel in the zone without paying the ULEZ charge.

For more information, visit tfl.gov.uk.

Van Excellence report highlights less than excellent driver supply

Van Excellence report highlights less than excellent driver supply

A range of issues in the haulage sector including driver shortages and mental health concerns have been highlighted in the 2018-19 Van Excellence report, which has just been published.

One key finding of this year’s report is that a shortage of drivers could hold back expansion in the freight transport sector.

Van Excellence is a scheme run by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the body’s head of vans and light commercial vehicles Mark Cartwright noted that the van market has been growing “consistently” since the end of the 2008-09 recession, with the “versatility and flexibility” it has demonstrated helping progress.

However, he added: “While there are many opportunities for further growth – such as booming online delivery services – there are also challenges ahead which all members of the vans sector should be aware of and prepare for, most notably, the increasing shortage of van drivers.

“One in five van drivers, operators or owners believes a van driver shortage could prevent their businesses operating successfully over the next year.”

As in so many other areas of the economy, Brexit is having an impact, as a large number of people from the EU either decide now is the time to leave, or cancel plans to move to Britain.

Mr Cartwright observed that this is definitely having an impact on the van industry as uncertainty over worker rights is causing fewer EU citizens to take up or stay in jobs in the sector.

This is borne out by the survey’s statistics, showing that in 2017 only 7.3 per cent of van drivers were from the EU, compared with 12.9 per cent in 2015.

A potential Brexit-related shortage of drivers was not the only problem identified in the report. Another was mental health, with many drivers suffering from problems.

To make matters worse, more than half of those interviewed for the study said they did not feel they could openly discuss mental health issues at work, prompting Mr Cartwright to outline Van Excellence’s commitment to dealing with the problem.

This includes a joint initiative with the Campaign Against Living Miserably to advise drivers about the support available to them.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “This report highlights some very worrying issues and the industry is quick to tackle them.”

 

Diesel dogs: Half of van drivers bring along their pooch

Life on the road can be lonely at times, but new research has revealed one way in which van drivers are combating the solitude: by bringing along a canine companion.

On any given day, the average professional driver spends over 17 hours completely alone, with over a third (35 per cent) spending at least 20 hours in solitude.

Mental health and driver wellbeing has become more of a focus than ever before, so drivers are turning to ‘man’s best friend’ to raise their spirits, with one in five agreeing that their dogs have had a direct positive impact on their mental health.

Out of the 2,000 van drivers and owners surveyed by Mercedes-Benz, almost half of them (957) take their dogs on the road (47.85 per cent). With 451,000 people identifying van-driving as their main occupation, this means there could be over 200,000 dogs on the road in commercial vans on UK roads at any one time.

Why are van drivers bringing their dog?

More than half of them (52 per cent) say they have their pooch in the passenger seat simply because it makes them feel happier, while 45 per cent feel more relaxed.

One in three (33 per cent) say their dog simply helps them get through their day and a dog can even be a valuable team member with over half (53 per cent) revealing that having their dogs with them has actually assisted in winning new business.

Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of UK van drivers and operators own at least one dog, with 36 per cent of those having more than one.

Steve Bridge, managing director of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said: “It’s great that our canine friends can join the nation’s hard-working van operators in the vehicles, providing much needed company along the way.”

However, Mr Bridge stressed the importance of suitably restraining dogs, according to the Highway Code, with a seat belt harness for example.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “Congestion in the UK is such a problem that the average driver gets stuck in traffic for up to 13 hours a day, so having such cuddly company means it isn’t a dog’s life for van drivers.”

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Over the past few years, we’ve seen some amazing growth, from a new office in Halifax to a new office in a new country: Germany.

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Fleet owners 'could fall foul of new London emissions charges'

Fleet owners ‘could fall foul of new London emissions charges’

Businesses that use vans could find themselves falling foul of new emissions regulations that are set to come into effect in London next year.

Cox Automotive said at an event co-hosted by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) and Transport for London (TfL) that it has found more than 80 per cent of vans on the road today will not be compliant with the rules of the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

This could have a serious impact on company owners, who may find themselves having to pay significant fines if their drivers are regularly using older, less efficient vans on roads covered by the ULEZ.

The ULEZ will come into effect in central London on April 8th 2019 and is part of a drive to improve air quality.

Described as the most radical ever crackdown on vehicle emissions, it will initially apply to older petrol and diesel vehicles in the London congestion charge zone. However, unlike the C-Charge, it will apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There has already been much criticism of the scheme, with those opposed pointing out that not everyone is even aware of the initiative, let alone has the resources to replace older vehicles at short notice in order to adhere to the low-emission regulations.

Director of communications and external relations at the BVRLA Toby Poston said: “TfL has an enormous task ahead of them to support the hundreds of small businesses who essentially rely on vans but will be caught out by the new Ultra-Low Emission Zone in a few months’ time.”

TfL’s James Ingram acknowledged that a key challenge will be businesses upgrading their fleet in time.

“That is why we have joined forces with the BVRLA to give smaller businesses as much support as we can to be ready, not just for the introduction of ULEZ, but for the long-term future as London moves towards becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050,” he added.

Surface transport is responsible for around a quarter of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions and the EU has agreements with motor manufacturers in place that aim to reduce this pollution from new vehicles.

Many now have colour-coded labels to display how much CO2 they emit per kilometre to help buyers choose more environmentally-friendly models.

 

No-deal Brexit ‘could push car industry off cliff-edge’

The automotive industry could suffer serious implications if Britain left the European Union without a deal in place, according to new research carried out by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A survey carried out by the organisation and presented at its 102nd annual dinner found that 74 per cent of companies with UK operations believe such a scenario would damage their prospects.

Only nine per cent could see anything positive coming out of a no-deal, while more than half reported that their company has already suffered as a result of the economic uncertainty.

Indeed, almost a third said investment decisions have had to be cancelled because of Brexit and one in five has lost business as a result. A further half suggested a no-deal may leave them with serious issues when it comes to maintaining their workforce.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said seamless trade has always been a key benefit of the EU and warned that a deal is essential if the automotive industry is to avoid falling off a cliff-edge.

“We need a deal now, and we need an ambitious deal for the future that guarantees frictionless trade with our most important market – nothing else will do, and we urge all parties to remember what’s at stake,” he added.

The SMMT recently published a document detailing what it sees as essential components for a Brexit that would work for the automotive industry, which included ensuring it would still be able to employ people from the EU.

It pointed out that there are currently more than 5,000 vacancies, of which many would remain unfilled if restrictions on the free movement of labour are imposed.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “The automotive sector employs around 856,000 people and 80 per cent of the cars that roll off its production lines are bound for export, mostly to the EU.

“However, SMMT analysis has suggested that EU tariffs on cars post-Brexit could add an annual £1.8 billion to the price of exports, as well as a further £2.7 billion to imports.”

At FCS Europe, our people are the heart of our business and we are constantly striving for excellence.

Our consultative and knowledgeable approach to everything we do sets us apart and we are always looking for new people to join our ever-expanding business.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen some amazing growth, from a new office in Halifax to a new office in a new country: Germany.

For us, standing still is not an option. Looking for progression?

With offices in Bellshill, Whitstable, Wantage, Leeds, Burnley, Halifax & Essen, Germany, we’ve got you covered!

Just ask our managing director Denise and she’ll tell you that the opportunities are there for the taking!

Join us today and fuel your career with FCS Europe.

#WeAreFCS, are you?