Research by rental company Enterprise has found that 18% of van owners still have no plan for dealing with the implementation of clean air zones across the UK, even though 76% believe their journeys will be affected. 

The study of 2,000 UK drivers also found that 40% were not aware of the fees and fines invoked by non-compliance with London’s expanded Ultra-Low Emission Zone, which comes into force today.

Enterprise found that 15% of all drivers who make business trips into clean air zones are in vans. It found 20% of van owners plan to avoid clean air zones altogether following their introduction, while 11% plan to accept that they will have to pay a charge.

Enterprise vice-president of mobility for Europe Ben Lawson said: “Van owners make business-critical journeys. While the costs associated with entering a clean air or low emission zone can be charged to the business, it will increase operational expenses at a time when businesses – and especially SMEs – are already feeling stretched.

“Clean air zones are important in reducing transport emissions and encouraging people away from driving older and more polluting vehicles. However, van owners need to be able to access a low-emission and Euro 6-compliant vehicle when they have no choice but to drive into a clean air zone.

“Planning ahead is vital, as it will help businesses identify where they will need to drive into one of these zones and how best to address the charges. Flexible rental is one option for users who regularly drive into a low emission zone and is an efficient way to drive a low-emission van without the capital outlay of buying a new one. Car clubs and daily rental are suitable for more short-term use for owners who only make occasional trips into these zones.”