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How to deliver in Low Emission Zones

Blog | How to deliver in Low Emission Zones

Low Emission Zones were created to improve air quality and the environment in cities, by applying various restrictions that incentivize vehicle owners to upgrade to less polluting options. Businesses can suffer from these restrictions. To deliver without extra costs in a Low Emission Zone you might need to rethink the way you are conducting your operations.

The rise of Low Emission Zones

These zones take different names. In the UK they are referred to as Clean Air Zones, in Germany as Umweltzones. Whatever the denomination, the principle is the same: to regulate the entry of polluting vehicles in certain city zones, often applying entry-charges to the most polluting ones as an incentive to upgrade. The final goal is to reduce air pollution, especially fine particles, improving air quality and reducing related human diseases. The results are incredible: between 2007 and 2010, there was already a reduction of over 50% of diesel particles in the air in Berlin.

Europe already has over 200 Low Emission Zones. LEZs are expected to grow in number and restrictions in the upcoming years. These measures go hand in hand with European government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a greener mobility economy.

London is currently the only city in Europe restricting its city center to a ULEZ – Ultra Low Emission Zone. Here, vans must comply with Euro IV standards for petrol and Euro VI for diesel. If not, a daily charge of 12.50£ to enter the zone is applied.

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Operating in a Low Emission Zone

As a deliverer, your business operates where your clients are, and Low Emission Zones are usually packed with clients. If you can’t stop doing business, what can you do? Well, the only way to get around these zones is not to enter. So, you can’t really escape a Low Emission Zone policy. What you can do is research, prepare and adapt your business.

Research your local policy and understand how it operates and what restrictions apply. Is there any charge? Is it permanent or can I deliver after business hours? Is my fleet compliant? Most Low Emission Zones have exemptions for certain types of vehicles or cases like small business operations. You might fit.

But what's even better is to prepare. The time for heavy polluting vehicles is over. You probably won’t need to buy new vehicles: adapting the ones you have might be a good enough option. Nevertheless, if you operate with a 15-year old fleet, maybe it’s time for an upgrade. Look into newer vehicles, even if second-hand. LGP is a better solution than diesel or petrol. Also, electric vans are more and more accessible. Some governments even offer financial incentive schemes to go electric.

Adapt the way you operate to avoid unnecessary trips. Manage your fleet and deliveries with efficiency and make sure your journeys are well planned to avoid wasting resources, contributing to congestion and air pollution. It’s likely that your clients are all over these zones, often in faraway coordinates, so you will need some help with that. Look into migrating your route planning to an automated tool that generates your rounds considering mileage, time, stops, zones, traffic conditions and client needs. URBANTZ is a good example of such a tool.

Low Emission Zones might be here to stay, but they don’t need to be a burden.

URBANTZ can help you out with adapting to the Low Emission Zones and offer other agile solutions for urban deliveries. Our delivery management platform offers geographic control options that restrict the delivery area to certain zones or zip codes. For example, with the zip code function you can restrict your delivers within a specific zip code – or Low Emission Zone – to only be delivered using electric bicycles.

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