Latest Business Vans News: New Ultra Low Emission proposals to bring London Congestion Charge discount changes next year

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Next year, the situation will get tougher for company car owners whose business requires them to enter the London Low Emission Zone. Business Vans has released a new article explaining how.

The proposed new Ultra Low Emission will provide a single 100 per cent discount from the Congestion Charge for electric and ultra-low emission vans

IF their business takes them into the London Low Emission Zone, things could get tougher next year if proposed changes by Transport for London go ahead.

TfL is consulting on a number of amendments to the Congestion Charging scheme, introduced in February 2003, which would see the introduction of a new Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED), as well as an increase in the penalty charge from £120 to £130, and the removal of the retail (shop) payment channel, which is said to be under used.

The proposed new Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED) would be introduced in July 2013 and provide a single 100 per cent discount from the Congestion Charge for electric and ultra-low emission vans.

But to qualify for the discount their van will have to be pure electric or have CO2 emissions of 75g/km or less and meet the Euro 5 emission standard for air quality.

Only ultra-low emission vehicles would be given a 100 per cent discount to the Congestion Charge under the ULED which would replace the existing Greener Vehicle Discount (GVD) and the electric vehicle discount.

The criteria for the proposed new Ultra Low Emission Discount are:

•Any type of pure electric vehicle
•Ultra-low emission vans with CO2 emissions of 75g/km or less that meet Euro 5
•Plug-in hybrid vans must additionally have a minimum range of 10 miles in ‘electric’ mode and a maximum speed of at least 50 mph. TfL is to publish a list of eligible vehicles.

The Ultra-Low Emission Discount will continue to offer a technology-neutral approach and, unlike the Greener Vehicle Discount, both cars and vans that meet the emissions criteria would be eligible for the discount. The inclusion of vans in the discount is intended to encourage the uptake of ultra-low emission commercial vehicles.

Vehicles registered for the current Electric Vehicle Discount would automatically qualify for the new Ultra Low Emission Discount. Drivers of these vehicles would not need to take any action as TfL will automatically transfer the vehicle to the new discount type.

Drivers would be required to pay the annual renewal fee of £10 when their discount becomes due for renewal, in keeping with other types of discounts.

And acknowledging that many drivers made a decision to buy a low-emission vehicle to benefit from the existing Greener Vehicle Discount, if the proposed changes are approved, around 19,000 current owners of vehicles who have registered for the discount would continue to receive the full discount for that vehicle for a ‘sunset period’ of two years from the proposed commencement of the scheme, until 29 June 2015.

Current company car tax bands benefit drivers of zero-emission electric vehicles with a zero company car tax rate (until March 2015). Drivers of business vans that emit 1-75g/km qualify for the lowest level of company car tax – 5% for petrol vehicles and 8% for diesels.

Nick Fairholme, TfL’s Director for Congestion Charging, told Business Vans: “We are really keen to hear what Londoners and motorists have to say about the proposed changes to the Congestion Charging scheme.”

“We do listen to the views of our customers and have made significant changes to the scheme in recent years, including the removal of the Western Extension and the introduction of Congestion Charging (CC) Auto Pay. The proposed changes will make the scheme greener and more efficient.”

TfL’s 12-week public consultation on the proposals closes on Friday 8 February 2013. It will then prepare a report for Mayor Boris Johnson setting out the comments received during the consultation. The Mayor will then make a decision on whether or not to go ahead with the proposals with or without modifications.

Keep up to date with developments in our Business Van News section.

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Conrad Swailes
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