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With the United Kingdom declaring a climate emergency, and the exponential increase in London’s air pollution, we’ve never needed a ULEZ more than we do today. It is something which has caused a fair amount of divide, with many people in the logistics industry panicking about the impact that it could have on the industry. However, there are other logistics companies who welcome the change, and will simply adapt with the times. After all, that’s what logistics is about: streamlining, evolving and finding the most efficient solutions.

But before we get into the effects that the ULEZ will have on the logistics industry, first we will define it. So, what does it stand for?

Ultra-Low Emission Zone

An ultra-low emission zone is a new 24/7 traffic management scheme dedicated to the reduction of CO2 emissions in London. Again, air pollution is a significant challenge facing London and has since become a high-priority issue for residents. This is largely due to the fact that the pollution is increasing residents’ risk of heart and lung disease, including asthma. In addition to that, every child that is born and raised in London is breathing in toxic air, which is damaging and potentially stunting their lung growth.

What can we do in addition?

Whilst an ultra-low emission zone will certainly make a difference, there is still much to be done. This is why people are being encouraged more and more, to use public transport and opt for walking and cycling to work. If everyone does their bit, then we can make a huge difference over the coming years.

How will the ULEZ effect the logistics industry?

 “From 25th October 2021 the ULEZ will expand to the inner London area bounded by the North and South Circular roads”. – City of London Gov

These are the new ULEZ standards:

  • Euro 3 for Motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles
  • Euro 4 for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro 6 for diesel cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro VI for heavy vehicles including lorries and other specialist vehicles over 3.5T and buses and coaches over 5T

If these new standards are not met, then vehicles travelling within the ULEZ will be subject to charges of £12.50 per day for vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes. Anything over that, ie., lorries; or coaches and buses over 5 tonnes, will be subject to £100 per day charge.

What can a logistics / delivery company do to overcome the daily charges?

Well, there’s no getting away with it, that’s for certain. However, there are a number of things that you can do to “soften the blow” as it were. Let’s look at a few things that you can try in order to adapt with the times:

  • Smart and more efficient allocation of deliveries & vehicles (eg., limiting one or two delivery vehicles to the ULEZ per day, depending on frequency of orders). This will prevent you from having multiple delivery vehicles facing charges when only having to make several stops within a ULEZ.
  • Implement an appropriate increase in delivery fees for addresses located within the ULEZ / offer the opportunity for collection at a nearby depot.
  • Implement a ULEZ delivery distribution network via bicycle.
  • Switch to an all-electric / hybrid fleet of vehicles.
  • Opt for smaller petrol engines which meet the ULEZ requirements.

Conclusion

For many companies, the ULEZ will be throwing something of a spanner in the works. However, when it is for the good of our environment, we must simply adapt and move on. There are many things that you can do to accommodate the changes. In fact, these changes are offering us all a brilliant opportunity to look at the way in which we run our businesses, and to identify where we can improve them / reduce the size of our carbon footprint. Those prepared to embrace change, will be the one’s leading the logistics industry into the future.