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How Will the ULEZ Expansion Affect FM Subcontractors?

Will the ULEZ Expansion Affect FM Subcontractors?
04 August 2023

From 29 August 2023, London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone will expand across all London boroughs – will increased transport costs affect subcontractors working for FM service providers?

The new charge means that those driving a non-compliant vehicle will pay a £12.50 daily charge to drive within the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

The ULEZ was introduced in April 2019 to combat the UK’s air quality crisis. Air pollution caused 40,000 deaths in the UK in 2019 – around 4,000 of which were in Greater London. A 2023 report showed that harmful pollution emissions have reduced by 26 per cent within the expanded ULEZ area - compared with what they would have been without the ULEZ coming into force.

The rising cost of parking and running a vehicle in London is certain to affect subcontractors working in the facilities management and building services sectors.  A survey carried out by Fix Radio – a radio station for builders and tradespeople – has found that 25 per cent of London tradespeople say that they have had to increase their prices in the past year due to increasing transport costs, with many losing out on jobs as a result. A further 23 per cent of London tradespeople said that it is too expensive to use their vehicle within the ULEZ.


Businesses Need Time “To Prepare”


The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has been urging the Mayor of London to impose a 12-month delay to the expanded scheme to help businesses in the building materials supply industry reliant on lorries and vans, as well as their SME builder customers, prepare for the change.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb, said: “BMF members recognise the importance of air quality and as responsible employers our members take a number of steps to ensure fuel efficiency and the health and wellbeing of staff.  However, we firmly believe that a 12-month delay to the start of the ULEZ expansion will allow businesses and individuals to prepare – especially in relation to the availability of compliant vehicles.”


Vehicle Scrappage Scheme


The £110 million scrappage scheme was designed to mitigate some of the effects of the extra costs for tradespeople, however some have remained doubtful that this will have the desired impact. The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents car and commercial retailers across the UK, feels that the scheme doesn’t go far enough.

Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the NFDA said “Whilst the NFDA supports and is encouraged by the London Mayor’s decision to provide a financial incentive towards exchanging ageing and non-compliant vehicles for newer, greener modes of transport, we are severely concerned that this will not be enough and the scheme will continue to have negative implications for a large proportion of motorists. The total budget allocated for the scrappage scheme will not be sufficient to make an impact the level at which the Mayor is expecting.”

On 4 August 2023, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan extended the scrappage scheme to provide more support for businesses, raising the grant per van from £5,000 to £7,000 and increasing the number of vans or minibuses small businesses and sole traders can scrap to three.

Picture: a photograph of a ULEZ sign stating that a vehicle is in the low emission zone. Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 04 August 2023


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