London has launched its ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ), which will impose charges on drivers of certain vehicles.
Delivery vans that do not meet the Euro 6 emissions standard will be charged £12.50 per day within the specified zone, while lorries will be charged up to £100.
The same as the existing congestion charge zone, it covers a large swathe of central London, stretching from Westminster and Marylebone in the west to Farringdon and the square mile area. The rules will extend to a larger zone from October 2021.
According to the Urban Access regulations website, the UK also has low emission zones in other major cities such as Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has claimed that the ULEZ will be redundant within just a few years due to a 2014 rule that requires new vans to abide by the standard anyway. It asserts that based on historical fleet turnover patterns, more than half of the UK’s truck fleet would meet the standard by 2021.
It claimed that businesses need more support in adapting to the regulation, arguing that a scheme to help the smallest businesses prepare for the financial impact of the ULEZ should be extended to all companies.
However, London’s City Hall claimed in a statement that there has been a 55% increase in the proportion of vehicles driving into the zone that meet the new emission standard.
Whether prompted directly by the ULEZ or not, some of the larger delivery companies have already readied their London fleets for lower emissions.
In October DPD opened an all-electric parcel hub in Westminster, capable of delivering 2000 parcels per day.
Supermarket Sainsbury’s has also been trialling a range of greener delivery solutions, with online operations development manager Max Conrad claiming that government regulation is a key pressure on retailers.
DHL is in discussions with London authorities to use the River Thames as a shipping route for parcels, modelled on an existing scheme in Amsterdam.
In late March, Royal Mail began a trial using electronic tricycles for deliveries in Stratford. The company also currently has a fleet of 100 electric vans, which it plans to expand in the future.