London Low Emission Zone drives new vehicle sales

London, UK: Operators are choosing to replace not retrofit vehicles to comply with the London Low Emission Zone for trucks and vans, says the Freight Transport Association.

A survey by the Freight Transport Association also found that companies with operating centres outside London would consider redistributing their non-compliant vehicles elsewhere in the UK to avoid the LEZ.

Natalie Chapman, the Freight Transport Association’s head of policy for London, said: “More operators are looking to replace their fleet and looking past retrofitting as the solution because their fleets are coming to the end of their lifespan.

“Due to the financial constraints of recent years operators have chosen to stretch the lives of their existing fleets but the new LEZ requirements may have forced their hands into replacing their oldest and least compliant vehicles.”

As well as a tightening up of LEZ regulations for trucks, for the first time vans will also come under scope. However, the van sector seems well prepared the association says.

“While forty five per cent of respondents reported that not all their HGV fleets operating in London were fully compliant with the new standards, only 10 per cent said the same of their van fleets,” Chapman says.

“As only vans over ten years old will be affected by the changes, on the whole the impact on FTA members, who represent half the UK van fleet, will be limited. However the move from Euro 3 to Euro 4 standards for lorries is far more painful – we can see from poor new truck sales that companies have already stretched their assets as far as possible.”

Commercial vehicle operators also indicated that they would consider redistributing vehicles that are already compliant to perform deliveries in the LEZ. Around three-quarters felt it would be relatively straightforward to redistribute non-compliant HGVs away from London, whilst around four out of five operators felt it would be possible to redistribute non-compliant vans away from London.

The FTA has produced an LEZ compliance guide to help operators understand and plan for the changes.

• From 3 January 2012, new regulations will require that all pre-Euro 4 trucks and buses meet the Euro 4 emissions standard for particulate matter if they want to enter the LEZ without facing a £200 daily charge. In addition, vans must meet the Euro 3 emissions standard for particulate matter or face a daily charge.