Ultra-Low Emission Zone due in 2019 a year ahead of schedule

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A public consultation on new measures to improve air quality in London - including the introduction of the long-awaited Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2019, a year ahead of schedule - has been launched.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is proposing to:

  • Introduce the ULEZ in 2019, instead of 7 September, 2020
  • Extend the ULEZ from central London up to the North and South Circular for all vehicles, as early as 2019, but possibly later
  • Extend the ULEZ for HGVs, buses and coaches from central London to London-wide from as early as 2019, or possibly later
  • Introduce an Emissions Surcharge (T-charge) for older polluting vehicles entering the Congestion Charge zone in October 2017

Depending on feedback the Mayor will ask Transport for London to develop potential options into detailed statutory proposals for consultation next year.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) said it was “disappointed by Mr Khan’s revised plans which could bring forward the introduction of the ULEZ and its expansion and claimed it would have a major impact on small companies operating vans. 

Vehicles entering the ULEZ must meet Euro6/VI (diesel) or Euro4 (petrol) emission standards or they will face a daily charge of £12.50 rising to £100 for HGVs, buses and coaches.

The proposed T-charge would apply to petrol and diesel vehicles that do not meet the Euro 4/IV emissions standard for NOx and PM emissions driving into the Congestion Charge zone from 23 October, 2017. The £10 charge would be in addition to the Congestion Charge and would operate at the same times (Monday to Friday, 07:00 – 18:00).   

FTA claims that with only two-and-a-half to three years’ worth of compliant vans on the roads following the mandatory introduction of Euro6 models in September, compliance, particularly for operators reliant on second-hand vehicles bought at four years old, will add a “significant cost burden” to their business. The organisation estimates that to comply with the proposals will cost the average small operator with five vans more than £100,000 extra up front - perhaps more than 150% of a company’s annual turnover.

Fuel prices set to rise by 5ppl by the end of October

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Sharp falls in the value of Sterling in recent weeks could trigger a rise in fuel prices of perhaps 5p per litre before the end of October, according to the Petrol Retailers’ Association (PRA) and RAC.

Brian Madderson, chairman of the PRA, forecasted a rise of 4-5p per litre by the end of the month, while RAC predicted a more conservative 3p per litre increase.

Nevertheless, the impact of such a pump price rise on fleet fuel bills will be significant with Mr Madderson saying: “The double impact of the pound weakening against US$ and global oil prices strengthening will cause pump prices to move sharply upwards.

“The pound has now fallen by more than 15% to $1.24 since the pre-Brexit level of $1.47.

At the same time, renewed talks amongst OPEC members’ trying to curb oil production has led to a hardening of global oil prices with Brent Crude passing the psychological barrier of $50 a barrel.”

As a result, wholesale costs to retailers have increased by more than 6p per litre for petrol and 7p per litre for diesel in the last few weeks. The UK average pump prices has only increased by less than 2p per litre for both grades over the same time period so further rises are forecast

by the end of the month.

88% of Company Car Drivers Admit to Speeding

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Nine out of 10 (88%) company car drivers admit to speeding on motorways, according to new research from RAC Business, which represents a 7% increase on figures from last year. 
In fact almost half (48%) of company car drivers surveyed admitted breaking the speed limit on motorways on most journeys, compared to 26% of private motorists.
The findings form part of the RAC’s Report on Motoring 2016, in which just over half (51%) of company car drivers said they typically travelled at 80 mph on motorways and 7% at 90 mph. That is also an increase on 2015 figures when 46% confessed to driving at 80 mph and 5% at 90 mph.
What’s more, 60% of company car drivers think it is totally acceptable to travel at 80 mph on motorways and a third (31%) think the current speed limit is inappropriate for the road. In line with that nearly three quarters (71%) believe the motorway speed limit should be increased to 80 mph.
However, the compulsion to speed is not as widespread on more high risk routes such as country roads with numerous bends where only 5% travelled at more than 60 mph, or in 20 mph urban area zones where two thirds of company car drivers kept within the limits.
Jenny Powley, corporate business sales director at RAC Business, said: “Knowingly breaking the speed limit is a dangerous approach to driving, whether you think you can justify it or not, and the risks associated with speeding far outweigh the time saved. After all, driving at 80 mph instead of 70 mph will only save six seconds a mile, or 10 minutes over 100 miles.”