More than one in five vans (20.8%) across FleetCheck’s user base don’t meet the requirements of London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), the company is reporting.

Peter Golding, managing director at the fleet management software specialist, said the statistic provided an indication of how many businesses could potentially be affected by the extension of the ULEZ at the end of August.

He explained: “To be clear, this is a figure that shows the proportion of non-compliant vans across our entire national user base, not just within the ULEZ, but it does indicate that a substantial minority of fleets are still operating pre-Euro 6 vans – and there is no real reason to believe this is not happening within the ULEZ zone in the same way as elsewhere.

“This is especially the case given the widespread extensions in replacement cycles that have been taking place since the pandemic. We now have many fleets that are operating at least a few vans that are 7-8 years old and will therefore probably be non-compliant.

“Of course, it is likely that there are many more vans of this type being run by sole traders and microbusinesses that fall outside of the mainstream fleet industry and would not be included in our data, so the proportion of non-compliant vans that will be affected by the ULEZ extension could be quite a lot higher than one in five.”

Peter said that the most obvious strategy for tackling the extended ULEZ was for companies that operate in the zone to swap compliant and non-compliant vehicles to ensure that the right vans are in the right locations.

“We know of several fleets that have done this but it is an option that is only open to those with wide geographical coverage and relatively large fleets. For all others, the only solutions are to pay the ULEZ charge or buy a compliant vehicle and neither of those options are cheap.

“We are highly sympathetic with the aims of the ULEZ – everyone deserves to live in a place where the air is safe to breathe – but its introduction is potentially hitting businesses just when they are under quite a lot of economic pressure, and when both new and compliant used vans are in short supply. It’s unfortunate timing.”