london traffic 400

Thousands of businesses could face millions of pounds in unexpected costs from next week as London launches its Ultra-Low Emission Zone, new research warns.

Many small businesses are totally unprepared for the introduction of the charge, which will see some vans charged up to £4,500 a year to enter the zone if they don’t meet strict emissions standards.

According to Europcar Mobility Group, 50% of small businesses have yet to make plans and one in eight don’t know what vehicles face penalties under the ULEZ.

Daily charges for non-compliant vehicles range from £12.50 for cars to £100 for lorries, in addition to the congestion charge. There are tough penalties for non-payment, which range from £160 to £1,000 per incident.

More than one-third (34%) of London-based companies say the regulations will be the single biggest transport issue that affects their business in 2019, but many don’t understand how it impacts their vehicles or transport plans.

Among vehicles likely to be affected are thousands of diesel vans that are more than three years old, if they don’t meet Euro 6 emissions standards; the typical replacement cycle for many vans is five to eight years.

Furthermore, there is a danger that businesses with vehicles that rarely travel into London could be hit by sizable fines for non-payment because they aren’t aware of the charge.

Stuart Russell, director commercial vehicles, Europcar Mobility Group UK, said: “The regulatory changes that the ULEZ is set to bring are going to have a significant impact for small and medium-sized businesses around the UK, not just those that are based in London. Many businesses trade within this zone and could be liable to this daily charge.”

Finance providers will be given an exclusive briefing on the impact of the London ULEZ and the introduction of Clean Air Zones throughout the UK at the IAFN Consumer and Business Auto Finance Regulatory Forum, which will be held in London on April 4.

For details, visit the event website, or complete the form below to book a ticket.

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