New van availability causing CAZ issues for some businesses


Poor availability of new vans is hampering some fleets in their efforts to become compliant with new Clean Air Zones, FleetCheck is reporting.

With the Bath CAZ already in place and Birmingham and Bristol to follow, as well as the upgraded London Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) now in effect, the fleet software specialist says that some businesses are only now starting to realise that they need to ensure that they have sufficient Euro 6 LCVs available.

Peter Golding, managing director, added: “While plans for CAZs have been known about in most areas for some time, many were delayed during the pandemic and, given that the majority of fleets have spent the last year ‘fire fighting’ in terms of dealing with everything from front line deliveries to furloughing, the subject seems to have slipped off the agenda.

“Now, as we are beginning to move out of lockdown, the immediacy of the problem has become apparent, especially in the enhanced London LEZ and in Birmingham where the size of the cities simply mean that more fleets are affected. With other locations set to follow, the situation could become even more acute.”

Peter said that the issue appeared to be more acute among smaller and more localised fleets that lacked the flexibility and resources of their larger counterparts.

“These types of businesses firstly tend to keep their vans for longer and secondly, do not have the scale to swap their vehicles around to ensure that newer, Euro 6 compliant units are working within the affected areas.

“Some need to buy new vehicles as a result but are finding that delays in new van deliveries are hampering their efforts. Either the vehicles they want are on long lead times – and six months is not unusual at the moment – or they are having to buy what they can get and there is not a wide choice in terms of what can be ordered for short-term delivery.”

Peter added that all of the stop-gap options available to fleets while they waited for the vans they wanted were relatively expensive.

“There is no easy answer to this issue but we are working with affected customers to identify the best route in each instance. However, in many cases it comes to down to hiring Euro 6 vehicles on daily rental or simply paying the CAZ charge - and costs soon mount up quickly if you choose either option.”