Transport for London is actively engaging with fleets to help them manage the implementation of the new Ultra-Low Emission Zone.
Speaking exclusively to Company Car Today, Alex Williams, director of city planning at the transport body, said his team had tried to make contact with 6,000 fleet managers and operators in the run-up to the zone’s introduction on 8 April.
“Any fleet which has signed up to our auto-pay congestion charge system will have been contacted,” he said. “We asked fleet operators and managers ‘What are you doing in terms of ULEZ operations? Do you need any more information? Are you aware of our schemes?’.
“It is all about us reaching out to people to say ‘are you aware of what you need to do to avoid paying the charge?’ It isn’t about raising revenue, it is about improving compliance and air quality.”
A TfL spokesman confirmed the organisation would continue to assist fleets now the zone is live. The Ultra-Low Emission Zone initially covers the same area as the Congestion Charge zone and is in operation 24/7. Pre-Euro6 diesel and pre-Euro4 petrol cars and vans are subject to a daily £12.50 charge on top of the £11.50 C-Charge fee. However, the ULEZ is set to expand to cover the North and South Circular roads in October 2021, impacting significantly more drivers.
Williams (pictured, left) admitted to Company Car Today that grey fleet drivers “are harder to reach,” but added that fleet managers are being proactive following calls from TfL: “We’re finding that fleet managers are marking up which vehicles are compliant and which ones aren’t and they’re looking to manage the compliant vehicles to go into the zone.
“Let’s not lose sight of why we’re doing this – there is a public health crisis and this scheme will reduce NOx levels by 45%.”
Williams also confirmed that 174 rapid electric vehicle charging points are in operation in the capital, rising to 200 by the end of the year. However, he said individual boroughs could do more to support the installation of points and backed Sir John Armitt’s view that Ofgem should regulate the industry (Company Car Today, issue 47): “A lot of the installations are on the public highway so I think the local authorities have a bigger role to play, but one of things that Ofgem can do to help that is one of the constraints in terms of pace of delivery is getting in the electricity supply to cope with the demand.”