clean air zone

The ULEZ is expanding – what does this mean for you?

The Ultra Low Emissions Zone is nothing new, having been around in one form or another since all the way back in 2015. Since then, it’s been developed significantly, and while it’s gone a lot further towards achieving its stated aim of improving air quality within London’s city limits, there’s no question that it’s accumulated its fair share of controversy along the way.

Now, after a recent High Court decision, the ULEZ is due to undergo a significant expansion in the next few weeks. That’s having a big impact on a lot of business owners – not just inside London but anyone whose fleet ever travels through it. As a direct result, countless fleet operators are now looking for new vans for sale, to upgrade their existing fleet so that it’s compliant with the ULEZ.

Here’s everything you need to know – but first, let’s start with the basics.

What is the ULEZ?

The Ultra Low Emissions Zone, or ULEZ, is an area of London that requires all vehicles travelling within its boundaries to meet certain emissions standards. The owner of any vehicle that doesn’t meet these emissions standards (whether it’s a car, van or motorbike) will receive a daily charge of £12.50.

Boris Johnson decided to introduce the scheme in the mid-2010s when he was Mayor London, and the scheme first came into effect in April 2019. By then, Labour’s Sadiq Khan had become mayor, and in recent years he’s been pushing for the scheme to be more expansive and more stringent, still worried about the impact that low air quality is having on Londoners.

Initially, the ULEZ only covered the Congestion Charge area in central London, before being widened in October 2021 to cover the North and South Circular roads.

What the latest with the ULEZ?

Essentially, the ULEZ has now been recently expanded again to cover all London boroughs.

The announcement was made official late in 2022, but there were major objections from Conservative councils, several of whom ended up taking the mayor to the High Court over it. Ultimately though the Court sided with Mr Khan, and the planned expansion is now going ahead.

As we touched on above, the ULEZ currently covers the area between the North and South Circulars, but the High Court decision now means that it will expand to encompass all London boroughs from the end of August. The new borders of the zone will reach Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey, and will come into effect on the 29th of August 2023.

Of course, it’s not hard to see why this is such a controversial change for so many people. While the ULEZ already has a strong track record for improving air quality in and around London, it’s also going to make it a lot more difficult for a lot of businesses to operate, especially in the short term. The timing is also concerning for some people, putting extra financial pressure on people and businesses to replace their vehicles when we’re in the middle of a cost-of-living squeeze.

So what does this mean for you?

Obviously, the effect of the ULEZ expansion on you depends a great deal on your personal circumstances. It may well mean that you have to replace elements of your business fleet if they’re not compliant, as the daily charges can make them uneconomical to run if you operate within London, especially on a frequent basis. Of course, it’s not ideal to have to be forced into replacing your fleet, rather than choosing to voluntarily – but either way, you can count on us here at Van Discount to make the process as smooth and easy as we can.

We offer a huge range of vans to choose from, manufactured by some of the world’s most renowned names – including Ford, Vauxhall and Renault. What’s more, we take care to offer them at the very best prices. In fact, by using our own network of contacts, on average we save our buyers up to 40% off the Recommended Retail Price of a new van, so that you can enjoy the best for less. At Van Discount we also provide a number of finance options, so that you can get your business back on the road and continue your operations virtually uninterrupted.

To find out more, or to make an enquiry, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 01282 872 530, and we’ll be happy to help however we can!