The controversial expansion of the ULEZ (Ultra low emission zone) in London on August 29th went ahead as planned, but new research suggests that many fleets have concerns over the impact of clean air zones.

One in four fleet managers told the survey by Samsara that they are worried about the financial consequences to their business of the growth of clean air and low emission zones in cities across the UK. In London, drivers of non-compliant vehicles will have to pay a daily charge of £12.50 to enter the ULEZ, which now includes all of Greater London.

There are similar zones in other cities, such as Edinburgh, Bath and Oxford, but each have different regulations and criteria.

However, the overwhelming majority of fleet managers who participated in the research feel that reducing carbon emissions and improving sustainability is a priority, with 69% saying that moving to electric vehicles in their fleet will have a positive impact on their business.

Efforts are also being made in London to make the transition to decarbonised fleets easier, with an increase in support by Transport for London in its scrappage scheme. Van owners scrapping an ICE vehicle for an EV now receive a payment of £7,000 (from £5,000).

“While there are environmental benefits in creating low-emission zones, it comes at a cost to fleet operators looking to carry out their everyday operations, particularly in terms of route planning and guaranteeing delivery times”, said Philip van der Wilt, senior vice president and general manager for Samsara in the EMEA region. “The adoption of cleaner, more efficient vehicles will go some way to address this issue. For some, ULEZ will serve as a catalyst for transitioning their fleets to EVs and becoming a more sustainable business.”

Thom Groot, CEO and co-founder of The Electric Car Scheme, said that the expansion of London’s ULEZ has been “a long time coming. London’s dirty air has contributed to countless health problems that wouldn’t have occurred had we all acted sooner.”

“For over a decade we’ve been talking about charging drivers for these emissions and have made great progress with the original low emission zone and then ultra-low emissions zone. It makes total sense to expand the zone in London - and I would urge other cities to consider doing the same.”