Clean Air Zones - are you prepared?
Chargeable Clean Air Zones are coming to Southampton and other UK cities next year, with the aim of combatting air pollution. But what will these new zones mean for commercial vehicle drivers?
What are Clean Air Zones?
A Clean Air Zone (CAZ) or Low Emission Zone (LEZ) is defined as an area in which a local authority takes measures to reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide. Vehicles that exceed pre-determined air quality emission levels are required to pay a charge to enter or move within the zone or they may be banned altogether.
In 2015, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) published the UK Air Quality Plan, aiming to improve air quality and address sources of pollution. The Plan identified five cities which will be required to implement penalty charges in 2019 for the most polluting vehicles. The Southampton Clean Air Zone was introduced on a non-charging basis in 2017 to encourage people to become more environmentally conscious; access restrictions and penalty charges will be introduced next year.
Why are they important?
Clean Air Zones are important as they will reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air; similar-style zones in Germany and Denmark have been shown to improve air quality. Here at Hendy, we care about our local communities and are therefore in favour of improving the air we breathe in Southampton. Clean Air Zones will affect both commercial operators and private individuals, but has particular implications for businesses who operate in the area. As a result, many companies have already started to update their fleets to modern, cleaner vehicles.
Who will be affected?
The new Clean Air Zones apply to buses, taxis and HGVs, and also non-compliant private vehicles. You can check if your vehicle is affected here. The upcoming charges are set to fall in line with the new London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) with non-complient HGVs set to be charged £100 per day to enter the zone, with a reported figure of £25 for LCVs.
Taking this information into consideration, business owners and individuals are already looking at ways to improve their efficiency according to Euro 6 requirements. Long-term, buying a more eco-friendly vehicle will also directly benefit the user, as, apart from avoiding Clean Air Zone charges, vehicles with better fuel economy will mean lower fuel costs.
What is the future beyond Euro 6?
Introduced in September 2015, Euro 6 is the sixth incarnation of the European Union directive to improve efficiency and reduce harmful pollutants from vehicle exhausts. All mass-produced cars sold from this date are required to meet these emissions requirements.
Petrol and diesel engine technology has improved in order to meet these requirements, for example, diesel engines now use Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology. However, the future of vehicles is moving towards hybrid, electric and hydrogen solutions. These "green" vehicles could be perfect solution for companies who use regular short journeys within a city.
What solutions are available now?
Here at Hendy IVECO we are fully committed to addressing the issue of air quality in urban areas and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We have developed a line of commercial vehicles which meet emission regulations, from light CVs to heavy-duty long-haul trucks and buses. Our Daily Euro 6 2020 RDE Ready is the first LCV Certified for Real Driving Emissions, ready for 2020 regulations.
Moreover, IVECO is Europe's leading manufacturer of natural gas commercial vehicles, with around 25,000 natural gas engines manufactured and over one billion kilometres driven since 1996. The Stralis NP provides peace of mind in the face of the forthcoming Clean Air Zones, whilst offering operators significant financial incentives with dramatically reduced operating costs.
With more and more Clean Air Zones being taken into consideration across the UK, the demand for eco-friendly and alternative fuel vehicles is set to dramatically increase. And with customers becoming more switched on to the environmental impact of the companies they do business with, this is your opportunity to stay ahead of the curve in the revolution of the commercial vehicle industry.
To support local businesses in the move to more fuel-efficient vehicles, we have a range of offers designed to help reduce the impact on your business with the implementation of the Clean Air Zones throughout the UK
Find out more about Hendy IVECO's range and available offers below.