ULEZ expansion to drive autumn spike in van and truck rentals


Enterprise is advising all businesses operating trucks and vans in the South East to plan their vehicle provision now to avoid paying thousands of pounds in extra charges and potentially fines when Greater London’s Ultra-Low-Emission Zone (ULEZ) expands on 25 October 2021.

The expanded ULEZ will encompass an area that is 18 times larger, bounded by the North Circular and South Circular Roads, and runs through many neighbourhoods previously unaffected by the Zone.

Enterprise anticipates that the triple effect of the expanded ULEZ, plus higher seasonal demand for deliveries ahead of Christmas and Black Friday, plus increased demand for post-accident replacement rental as a result of winter driving conditions and daylight saving, could lead to unprecedented demand for both vans and HGVs.

It is estimated that as many as 35,000 vans and 3,000 trucks driving in to London every day do not currently meet the required Euro 6 emissions standard and will be liable for the expanded ULEZ charges. A daily charge runs from midnight to midnight, so a vehicle that enters the zone at 11.00pm and leaves at 3.00am will have to pay two daily charges.

The daily ULEZ charge for non-Euro 6-compliant trucks is £100 with a penalty charge from £500, in addition to any Congestion Charge or Low Emission Zone (LEZ) charges that apply.

A small company driving only five non-compliant vans in the new ULEZ zone for 250 days a year will still pay more than £15,000 per annum in additional costs. These will either have to be absorbed or passed onto customers.

An increase in online shopping and home deliveries over the past 12 months has already led to higher demand for daily and long-term commercial vehicle rental. Businesses requiring vans should therefore confirm availability for the best rental solutions now in order to avoid the £12.50 daily charge and fines from £250.

Any commercial vehicles more than five years old are unlikely to meet the standard, as Euro 6 was only required on new vehicles from September 2016 onwards.

Thousands of businesses operating vans and trucks are likely to be affected, as journeys to and from areas such as Hammersmith, Cricklewood, Walthamstow, Blackheath and Peckham will now fall under the ULEZ. Several neighbourhoods will be bisected by the expanded zone and vehicles operating there may face the charge simply by driving a hundred yards or less.

Danny Glynn, managing director of Enterprise Flex-E-Rent, comments: “The expansion of the ULEZ is a vital step in improving air quality in London and an important reminder that reducing the number of older vehicles can significantly decrease CO2 emissions.

“We estimate that a lot of companies that still own older vans and trucks and operate them in and around Greater London will be caught and end up paying fines and additional charges.

“Businesses need to plan now to ensure they have access to Euro 6-compliant rental vehicles, as demand for HGVs and vans has increased through the pandemic. We are working closely with manufacturers and the supply chain to ensure we can provide a fleet of low-emission Euro 6 commercial vehicles to enable businesses operating in the area to be compliant with the expanded ULEZ.

“Demand for rental is already high and only going to increase as the deadline nears. It will also be difficult to pass on these charges as higher costs to customers if the only explanation is that the business didn’t plan ahead.”

Businesses looking to switch to compliant vehicles quickly in order to avoid additional ULEZ charges or fines will also benefit from the additional financial flexibility that rental brings, enabling them to move away from the high capital costs of owning a vehicle fleet. Rental vehicles are also newer and equipped with the latest safety features.

Vehicles can be hired by the hour, by the day or week, or for longer periods on flexible rental to fulfil long-term projects. Businesses can also use Enterprise Car Club to avoid employees having to pay ULEZ charges when they drive their own, older grey fleet cars within the zone on short business trips.

In order to ensure hygiene and safety, Enterprise introduced its Complete Clean Pledge in 2020 to further enhance how all its vehicles, including trucks and vans, are thoroughly cleaned between each rental. This includes washing, vacuuming, general wipe down, and sanitising with a disinfectant that meets leading health authority requirements, with particular attention to more than 20 high-touch points.