Havering Council has revealed the financial impact of Ulez on its non-compliant fleet could run into thousands.

In a meeting held on October 18, the council's asset management director Mike Butler said that Havering currently has 177 vehicles, but only some do not meet Ultra Low Emissions Zone criteria.

The zone was expanded to cover the whole Greater London Area from August 29, with vehicles that did not meet Euro 6 emissions standards having to pay a daily charge of £12.50 to drive within it.

The council had originally estimated it would pay charges up to £103k between September 1, 2023, and March 31, 2024 if none of these non-compliant vehicles are replaced, which would rise to £177 in a full financial year.

But Mr Butler said that the council has now managed to reduce these costs to £75k by selling some non-compliant vehicles while preparations are underway to replace them. The revised cost for a full financial year also now stands at £129k, he claimed.

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He added that Havering now has an account with TfL to cover automatic charges for its non-compliant fleet, reducing the risk of heavy fines.

The non-complaint fleet includes 27 buses that were intended to be replaced last year, Mr Butler said. Their replacement was deferred as the current Home to Transport policy is under review, so only eight of the oldest vehicles were approved for being disposed of.

The remaining ones have been granted an exemption from Ulez charges by TfL until October 2025.

Up to 32 of council’s grounds maintenance and environment vans, eight of its housing vehicles, four bereavement services vehicles, ten pool cars and six parking enforcement vehicles are currently said to be subject to Ulez charge.

Cllr David Taylor, of St Edwards ward, questioned the council’s provision of these costs in the budget given its impending bankruptcy.

But the council's head of transport Simon Blake said that the council is currently “not sure” if all these costs will be absorbed by the money made from selling the vehicles.

He said the costs are not currently provided for in the budget and, in the worst case scenario, will lead to an overspend.

Mr Blake added: “It (the charges) will go up and down because of the usage, and we are going to monitor the charges every month. We are looking at how that aligns with the income we are bringing in.

“We have got a tender running at the moment for the grounds maintenance fleet to replace 32 vehicles. That’s a chunk of the vehicles that are non-compliant.”

He revealed that the council is finding it challenging to speed up the replacement as manufacturing of new vehicles is still coping with Covid impact.

He further said: “One of the suppliers I had put an order in December 2022, has told me this week they still haven’t got chassis, and it may not even be ready until May or June next year and that’s only for four vehicles.”

On the positive front, he claimed that the non-compliant vehicles that are in good condition can still fetch a good price outside London.

But he added the council cannot also consider the option of using more electric vehicles due to the expense of creating more charging points. 

He added: "We have a tsunami of costs when it comes to infrastructure for charging for electric vehicles. That's not really doable at the moment."