The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has called on policymakers to work more closely with fleets in tackling London’s air quality problem, one month before the launch of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in the capital.

The association has published details on the role that the vehicle rental, leasing and car club sector could play in accelerating the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles, while also encouraging people to use public and shared modes of transport.

“The ULEZ coming in April is just the start,” said Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the BVRLA. “We will see a massive expansion to the zone in October 2021 and many are predicting it will become zero emission from 2025. We urgently need a clear, long-term vision that includes the right support for SMEs and other essential road users.”

National government, the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) have all been called on to help promote the role that vehicle rental, leasing and car clubs could play in providing general access to ULEZ-compliant vehicles.

The BVRLA is also calling on policymakers to:

– Provide more money for ULEZ mitigation measures to help fleets and individuals upgrade their vehicles or make the switch into more sustainable modes of transport.

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– Ensure that zero emission zones are properly signposted, and provide adequate consideration to the cost and supply constraints of electric vehicles.

– Place an emphasis on bottlenecks within London’s public EV charging network, ensuring priority access for commercial vehicle fleets and car share providers.

Keaney believes that London’s ULEZ will be a pivotal reference point for other UK Clean Air Zones. “By engaging properly with fleets policymakers can have the maximum impact on pollution and congestion and learn some valuable lessons for other cities with similar issues,” he concluded.

Last November, the BVRLA co-hosted an event with TfL to explore the impact of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone on van users and fleet management companies operating in London.

At the time, James Ingram, principal city planner for TfL, noted the challenge that small businesses face in order to upgrade their fleet in time for the deadline. “That is why we have joined forces with the BVRLA to give smaller businesses as much support as we can to be ready, not just for the introduction of ULEZ, but for the long-term future as London moves towards becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050,” he said.