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23 January 23 Press releases

Van shortage threatens drivers with huge emissions bills


Tradespeople face the prospect of crippling bills or even breaking the law to stay on the road following Sadiq Khan’s expansion of the capital’s ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) in August because of the shortage of compliant vans for sale, according to Auto Trader research.

The London mayor is expanding the zone to the outer London boroughs from August 29th under a drive to cut emissions. Only diesel vans registered since 2016 will evade the charge, under which drivers must pay £12.50 a day to enter the zone.

An estimated 30,000 non-compliant vans travel daily in the ULEZ zone, according to an impact assessment of the policy move for Transport for London by consultant Jacobs.*

But figures from Auto Trader show there only 5,181 vans currently for sale across the whole of London and the South-East which follow the rules – leaving almost 25,000 drivers of older vans potentially exposed to the ULEZ charge.

Across the entire UK, there were only 23,803 compliant new and used vans for sale in December, according to the online marketplace – still almost 6,000 short of the estimated 30,000 drivers impacted.

Tradespeople entering the zone every working day will typically rack up more than £3,100 a year in ULEZ fees - or face a £180 penalty if they fail to pay.

The average price of a diesel van which follows the new rules on the Auto Trader site is £23,972, more than £6500 more expensive than a non-compliant vehicle. 

 The latest raid comes after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced plans to hit van drivers with a “transit tax” in April following a £100m hike in company van tax.

 An Auto Trader spokesperson said: “This will be a real worry for thousands of van drivers already struggling to cope with high inflation. The number of ULEZ compliant vans for sale is just a fraction of the estimated 30,000 vans affected, leaving the majority facing the prospect of paying thousands of pounds extra to get to work.”

The Jacobs report, published last May, estimated a total cost of £359m for businesses with non-compliant vans between 2023 to 2030. Of this, £96m would impact businesses outside Greater London and the remaining £263m would be borne by businesses within the ULEZ expansion area.

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