As concerns about air pollution increase, cities are introducing regulations to lessen emissions. With fees and restrictions on vehicle use being introduced, fleet managers are rightly concerned about the impact these regulations will have on their businesses. Starting in 2021, new legislation is coming into effect establishing Clean Air Zones (CAZ) regions across the UK.
This is being done in an effort to deal with high pollution levels across the country. These regulations reveal a trend towards more environmentally-conscious legislation. While these new laws may come as a challenge for businesses with vehicle fleets, the effects can be handled easily with fleet tracking solutions.
A digital vehicle management software can help you avoid Clean Air Zones, cut costs, and stay ahead of new transportation regulations.
Clean Air Zones are government-designated areas restricting high-emission vehicle use to improve air quality. These areas can be single streets or entire city sections. They vary according to air pollution levels in the region. Cameras with automatic number plate recognition will record vehicles crossing into the CAZ. Therefore, vehicles exceeding emission standards will pay a steep daily fee.
The goal of this legislation is to improve air quality in the targeted zone. Numerous cities have been designated already, and more could be expected to join the list:
- Leeds (CAZ no longer required)
Furthermore, the UK government has already named 23 additional local governments, where air pollution levels are anticipated to reach illegal levels by 2021.
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When do Clean Air Zones go into effect?
While the new legislation was meant to go into effect in 2020, it was postponed due to Covid-19. Bath will start their Clean Air Zone on March 15, 2021 and Birmingham on June 1, 2021.
Meanwhile, be sure to stay up-to-date with the news for your area as these dates can change. With other regions sure to follow suit, CAZ are now a fundamental component of city infrastructure and fleet management.
Who has to pay Clean Air Zones fees?
There are four classes associated with CAZ. Local authorities designate their regions according to the severity of their air pollution:
- Class A – Buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles
- Class B – Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)
- Class C – Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs, and light goods vehicles (LGVs)
- Class D – Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs LGVs, and cars
London has already implemented a 24/7 “Ultra Low Emission Zone”, in which only ultra-low emitting cars are excluded. To check if your vehicles are exempt, enter your registration details and region into the online government tool.
However, it is important to note that there are some national and local exemptions from the fines.
- Cars, vans, and taxis meeting Euro 6 (diesel) or Euro 4 (petrol) emission standards
- Buses, coaches, and HGVs that meet Euro VI emissions standards
- Low-emission vehicles with a significant zero-emission range
- Disabled passenger tax class vehicles
- Military and historical vehicles
- Vehicles with Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme technology
All other vehicles will be subject to a fee when driving into CAZ, meaning that businesses with fleets regularly entering these areas will incur significant tolls.
What are the CAZ fees?
Local authorities set their own fees, which in Birmingham is £8 per day for cars, taxis, and vans, and £50 per day for HGVs, coaches, and buses.
The Ultra Low Emission Zone fees in London are £12.50 for most vehicle types, and £100 for heavier vehicles, including lorries over 3.5 tonnes and buses/coaches over 5 tonnes.
In Bath, vans, taxis, and minibuses face a charge of £9 a day, while trucks, lorries, coaches, and buses will be charged £100.
How to prepare your business for Clean Air Zones
To avoid paying hefty fees and contributing to air pollution, fleet managers need to account for Clean Air Zones when planning the routes of their company vehicles. Daily fees of £100 per vehicle add up quickly. However, avoiding these areas doesn’t have to be complicated. By going digital, you can easily plan efficient routes that factor in CAZ.
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Digitising your fleet is the most effective and efficient way to adapt to CAZ.
Geofencing, a feature of Vimcar’s Fleet Geo, allows you to create virtual fences that alert you when a vehicle in your fleet enters (or drives close to) a Clean Air Zone. Because Vimcar documents all past routes and stops by tracked vehicles, fleet managers can start preparing now by evaluating current routes and determining where changes need to be made.
Fleet Geo’s route history feature allows you to identify weak points, maximise route efficiency, increase fleet productivity, and cut fuel costs.
Clean Air Zones are an unavoidable step in fighting climate change and improving local air quality. Therefore, taking steps today will help your business adapt and prepare for changing legislation.
Fleet Geo allows managers to support a more environmentally-sustainable future without compromising their business objectives.
Through accurate trip history tracking and the use of Geofencing, fleet managers can enhance their vehicles’ productivity and reduce expenditures by 20%.
Read more: What is Geofencing?
Geofencing isn’t just useful for Clean Air Zones. It also acts as a theft warning, sending an alert when vehicles pass the virtual barrier outside of working hours. Additionally, GPS fencing can indicate that a vehicle is back in range of the office and ready for reloading.
Additionally, geofencing paired with vehicle live-tracking technology is an easy way to move your fleet towards higher sustainability goals.
With three cities enacting Clean Air Zones in 2021 and many more to follow, businesses should take steps to adapt. A digitised vehicle management system is a cost and time-saving solution.
To learn how Fleet Geo will help you streamline your fleet management, contact a Vimcar sales representative today and discuss the best options for your business. See for yourself how digitising your fleet allows you to spend less time planning routes, and more time on the core aspects of your business.