As London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expands today (25 October) from central London to the North and South Circular roads, growing 18 times larger than its original size, Paul Willcox, MD at vehicle manufacturer Vauxhall, called for a single nationwide policy to simplify the rules and greater government aid for businesses.

Under the expanded ULEZ rules lorries, vans and specialist heavy vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, or buses, minibuses and coaches over 5 tonnes that are Euro-6 do not need to pay the daily ULEZ charge of £100. Diesel vans under 3.5 tonnes must be Euro-6 to avoid the charges and petrol vans must be Euro-4.

Willcox said: “Clean Air Zones and Ultra Low Emissions Zones are part of a package of measures being used to drive the uptake of zero emissions vehicles. However, clarification for permissible vehicles allowed to be used within these different zones are inconsistent and confusing for many – greater clarity is needed from the government, and a single nationwide policy to simplify the rules and restrictions would benefit consumers more than current individual city policies.

He pointed out that Vauxhall is already striving to better government deadlines on electric vehicles, with the manufacturer already offering a full electric range of vans and planning fully electric vehicles from 2028 – two years ahead of the current Government deadline. However he said more government support is needed during the transition.

“Vauxhall estimates it will achieve cost parity between electric and combustion vehicles later this decade. Until then, the Government needs to help ensure buyers are not priced out of electric vehicle ownership," he said.

“Grants like the current Plug-in Car Grant and Plug-in Van Grant, as well as the home charging grants have helped many make the switch already, and are vital to ensure the growing uptake of electric vehicles continues. These will also help ensure a growing used market for electric vehicles emerges, giving secondhand buyers the possibility to make the switch.”