ULEZ – HOW IS IT AFFECTING TRADESPEOPLE?
According to the government, poor air quality is impacting the health of Londoners, and most of that pollution comes from vehicles. The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was originally put in place back in April 2019 as a method of improving air quality.
The zone extended from Central London to the North Circular Road. However, just last month, the ULEZ expanded across all London boroughs, meaning more drivers are now facing daily charges.
This has sparked outrage among many drivers, including tradespeople who travel daily to complete work in various locations around London. Below, the experts at MyJobQuote.co.uk, the UK’s leading trades matching site, go over everything you need to know about the ULEZ and how it’s affecting people in this industry.
What Is The ULEZ?
The ULEZ is a fairly new traffic control method introduced by the government to help cut the number of old or non-compliant vehicles on the roads in the capital. As a result, the government hopes to significantly reduce the levels of harmful traffic pollution.
Owners of diesel vehicles that do not meet the Euro 6 emission standards and petrol vehicles that do not meet the Euro 4 regulations are subject to a £12.50 daily charge for driving in the ULEZ. This applies to motorcycles, vans, cars, and specialist vehicles up to and including 3.5 tonnes. It also includes minibuses up to and including 4 tonnes.
Vans, lorries, and specialist vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and minibuses and coaches over 5 tonnes must pay the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) fee if they do not meet the current emission standards. This fee amounts to £100 – £300 per day.
Both the ULEZ and LEZ charges are in addition to the current £15 daily congestion charge, which applies to all vehicles and covers all of central London. To find out more about which charges apply to your vehicle, visit the Transport for London website.
How Do The New ULEZ Rules Affect Tradespeople?
Transport for London estimates that just 9 out of 10 cars driving in London will be subject to the ULEZ charge. However, due to the nature of tradespeople’s work, they often have no choice but to use non-compliant vehicles, including vans, trucks, and larger vehicles.
Many tradespeople in the region are already paying the LEZ charge. Transport equates to one of the highest costs for tradespeople, and this cost increase is difficult to pass on to consumers – especially in the current cost of living crisis.
Martin Moore, from M Moore Decorating & Tiling Services, lives near Ealing and says, ‘I just don’t go into London at all anymore. The ULEZ charge and the congestion charge are just ridiculous. Then the bigger problem is when you get anywhere near the west postcodes, or anywhere like Kensington, it’s finding parking.
And the parking charges are ridiculous! For one job I did have near Kensington, I ended up travelling on the tube with my materials on a Sunday just to save the cost for the customer.
Otherwise, you’re looking at around £70 per day before you have even been able to price the job. A lot of trades I know will have the same. We just stay away from Central London nowadays. ’
The ULEZ expansion will affect a very large proportion of tradespeople in and around the London area, meaning large numbers of trade business owners will see huge hits to their profits.
How Are Tradespeople Adapting to The New ULEZ Rules?
In some cases, tradespeople may be able to swap their current work vehicle for one that is compliant with the ULEZ rules. However, not all tradespeople are able to do this while still effectively running their business.
Where it is not possible to swap to a compliant vehicle, tradespeople will have to increase their prices to cover the additional costs, meaning homeowners will end up paying more for trade work.
In other cases, tradespeople may simply avoid the London area or relocate to another region that isn’t implementing these fees. This means that homeowners across the London area may struggle to find tradespeople to complete the work they need, and when they do, they will be facing higher prices for the work.
How Are MyJobQuote Helping Tradespeople Bypass ULEZ Zones?
MyJobQuote, an online platform where tradespeople can search for jobs within their area, has added a new function to bypass ULEZ zones. When searching for a job, a tradesperson can now tick a box that excludes jobs within a ULEZ zone to avoid any charges.
Director of MyJobQuote, Carl Meredith, said, ‘The introduction of ULEZ has created havoc for trades across London as they cannot travel to certain jobs without paying a fee. Many tradespeople have to use vehicles that don’t meet emissions standards for their work, and it’ll target them specifically.’
‘We’ve built a feature that allows trades to know if the jobs they wish to service are within ULEZ, enabling them to cost and plan jobs effectively. This has been one of the most requested functions from our trade members.’
Are There Any Schemes in Place to Support Tradespeople?
In an effort to help with the cost of altering or replacing non-compliant vehicles, Transport for London has introduced a £110m vehicle scrappage scheme.
This scheme allows sole traders and tradespeople working for a business with 10 employees or less to claim between £7000 and £9500 towards the cost of the transition to a ‘cleaner’ vehicle. You can find out more about the different claim allowances on the Transport for London website.
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