Concerns over how the expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will impact garages have been raised by the Independent Garage Association (IGA).
In a meeting with Transport for London (TfL), the IGA said that the new zone – which is scheduled to come into effect on 29 August – will put financial pressure on garages.
One stepping stone is that drivers with non-compliant cars seeking “essential motoring services”, such as MOTs, servicing, and repairs, will look outside of the zone, or put off the work due to the £12.50 daily charge, leaving these garages out of pocket.
“Whilst we wholeheartedly support the need to protect health and provide clean air for the people of Greater London,” said Stuart James, IGA chief, “we must not lose sight of the fact that businesses and livelihoods need to be considered.”
The ULEZ expansion plan, originally tabled in 2022 by London mayor Sadiq Khan, were given the legal go-ahead last month following lengthy court battles. This means the zone will extend to cover all London borough and go as far west as Longford, as far north as Waltham Cross, as far east as North Ockendon and as far south as Biggin Hill.
James added: “Our meeting with TfL was a step towards highlighting the concerns of independent garages. Protecting the environment is important, but we must find ways to strike a fair balance between environmental goals and the economic well-being of local businesses and individuals.”
Another issue raised by the IGA was around the retrofitting of commercial diesel vehicles from Euro 4/5 to the Euro 6 compliant standard. Reports suggest that only three companies in the UK have the capability to retrofit commercial vehicles with compliant tech – with the nearest to London being in Luton.
This has not gone down well with the Federation for Small Businesses (FSB), which confirmed there are “currently very few options within the M25 area in which to retrofit a diesel van that meets TfL standards”.
Grants have been offered to all small businesses of up to 50 employees that use Euro 5 and Euro 4 vehicles as part of the ULEZ scrappage scheme. They must have their retrofitting work booked by 29 November, with work to be completed by May next year. They will still have to pay the £12.50 daily charge in the meantime.
However, the FSB remains positive, adding in a statement: “The options are there and with the right level of communications, small businesses can take advantage and save themselves significant funds in the process.”