The Goodyear Sustainable Reality Survey was sent out to over 1400 fleet operators across 31 countries in Europe, with 90 in the UK and Ireland. It was designed to get a feel for how fleet operators are making inroads into sustainability, including their methods, strategies and targets. The results have now been released, and the findings showed that 64% have stated that fuel-efficient tyres are key to the sustainability solution. This equates to 2/3 of the number of respondents in the survey. Fuel-efficient tyres were the second most important solution, with Telematics solutions able to produce and monitor the fuel consumption coming in as the top piece of kit needed to achieve sustainability.
UK Fleet Operators
Focusing on the responses from UK-based fleet operators, 98% responded that sustainability was a very important issue for their business. 69% of those who had a fleet with over 500 vehicles said sustainability was the most important issue. 60% of those with vehicles numbering 10 or less also agreed. The general manager of Commercial UK&I, Goodyear, Kate Norton, said, “Fuel-efficient tyres are a significant cost saver for fleets. As we endure this period of high energy prices, it’s no surprise that fleets are continuing to practise greater attention to detail when it comes to tyres and other material differences that can really help boost fleet efficiency.”
Legislation Being Recognised
In 2021 the responses from many fleet operators suggested that they did not have a particularly comprehensive knowledge of current environmental legislation in their own countries. This has vastly improved, and now 91% have said they fully understand current and upcoming legislation that applies to their sector. Having this knowledge goes further than just complying with government laws; it puts the operators in a very strong strategic position and aligns them with the efforts of the government to improve the sustainability of the industry.
Some Issues Remain
Overall the results of the survey painted a very positive picture, but there are still a few issues that need to be tackled. One of these is the fact that the cost is fairly prohibitive for those with small athletes. 60% said upfront costs cannot possibly justify any future return on their investment, making it a significant barrier when it comes to many of the solutions. 72% of survey respondents, no matter what size of the fleet they had, said that financial incentives had a big part to play as they could not deny the encouragement these gave businesses to improve their sustainability. Fleets, like everyone, are feeling the impact of a higher cost of living and the current economic environment.
Modern Solutions are Expensive
Continuing on the finance side of things, the fact that many tools to improve sustainability are complex and require installation keeps them out of reach for many companies. However, overall, Kate Norton said that the results of the survey were very positive, and she was encouraged by the responses and the effort that the fleet operators have demonstrated.
August 29 Sees London's Ultra-Low Emission Zone Covering All Boroughs
The anticipated expansion of the ULEZ in London has been confirmed as taking place on the 29th of August, 2023. According to the office of the mayor, the expansion should reduce NOx emissions in outer London created by vans and cars by 10%. PM emissions are set to be cut by 16% across the boroughs because of the expansion. It also predicts that the current 42,000 vans that do not meet the standards and are used on London streets daily will drop to closer to 26,000 as people either upgrade their vans to avoid the costs or simply look for alternatives to avoid coming into the area.
The rules will remain the same, so no matter what borough of London you travel in, if your van or truck does not meet the standards, it will be charged £12.50 per day for entering the area any day at any time there is no weekend respite, and it applies 24 hours a day. The charges are levied on the residence, and in the central London area, this charge is applied alongside the congestion charge. The congestion charge will not apply outside the central London zone, so it will simply be the ULEZ charge that companies must pay.
Currently, the minimum emission standards are Euro 6 NOx and PM emissions for diesel vehicles and Euro 4 NOx for petrol vehicles. Since 2016 it should not have been possible to purchase any new diesel vehicle that does not meet these standards. The standard for petrol vehicles was set in January 2006, so it is only older vehicles that would fail to meet the standards and therefore have the charges levied.
Progress in Air Quality
While many consider the scheme to be unfair, progress has definitely been made in improving the air quality in the capital over the last six years. The problem is now the outer boroughs where statistics show the greatest number of deaths that can be attributed to evolution issues occur. Over 85% of vehicles, including vans using outer London roads, do already meet the standard, so it should not be that impactful for that money. At the moment, road usage creates 28% of London's carbon emissions, so a 10% cut will see this drop to 18% if the predictions from the mayor's office are correct.
Finally, in an effort to help anyone with an order van or minibus upgrade to meet the standards from the 30th of January 2023 scrappage scheme will be available. This applies to sole traders, charities and micro businesses, which are defined as those with less than 10 members of staff. If this group of people choose to scrap a van, they can apply for a £5000 grant or a £7000 grant if they are scrapping a minibus. They can also apply for a £5000 grant to retrofit certain vehicles or a grant of £7500 for vans and £9500 for minibuses if they are being replaced with a fully electric vehicle.