One thing that we like to bring together at LowCVP is national, regional and local policy measures. Whenever we engage with policymakers from across the spectrum, we try to flag other approaches and precedents. That approach looks to save everyone time and effort, but importantly it seeks to provide consistency for operators, users and the wider economy.

A good example of this is the Ultra Low Emission Bus (ULEB) definition and certification process. The definition was developed by the Department for Transport for use in capital grant schemes, and it has now been adopted by Scotland for its Scottish ULEB scheme and to support BSOG Low Emission Vehicle grants.

This means that manufacturers and operators in both England and Scotland work to the same standards, keeping everything simple.

Work still needed to deliver country-wide consistency

However, we are not always 100% successful. For example, we have Clean Air Zones in England, Low Emission Zones in Scotland and the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London. All of those require the same emission standards – Euro VI diesel – but confusingly they do not cover all vehicle types, have the same daily charges for non-compliant vehicles or have the same name.

LowCVP Ultra Low Emission Zone
CAZs, LEZs and a ULEZ can all be found in the UK… and they each require the same standards despite having different names, points out Dan Hayes

To avoid this situation occurring again and to prevent local authorities from going in different directions, we have already started thinking about how Zero Emission Zones might be structured.

Importantly, we need to understand how coaches and buses will fit into that structure, and how to encourage emission-saving technologies without excluding larger vehicles that do not yet have a complete zero emission (ZE) solution.

Initial thinking is that ‘zero’ means zero at the tailpipe within the designated zone. That could open the space for ZE-capable hybrid solutions, which we already see in the bus sector (for example, in Brighton) where fully ZE vehicles cannot cover the daily range required.

Help LowCVP to define an Ultra Low Emission Coach

Importantly however, we see that there should be a tiered approach, so that a ULEB or an Ultra Low Emission Coach (ULEC) would not have the same daily charge as a more polluting Euro IV or Euro V vehicle.

What is a ULEC, you ask? Well, that is where we need your support to help us inform policymakers where we should set the bar. Head to the LowCVP website to get involved with our Coach Interest Group and to help shape what a ULEC should look like.

Once we have set a definition, we can then use it within the local ZEZ framework as well as within national policies, like DfT’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP). The TDP will set out an action pathway for decarbonising all domestic transport towards 2050. It is expected within the next few months. This will be the manual for policies for at least the next five, if not 15, years for OEMs.

At LowCVP we continue to push for coaches and buses to be at the heart of future policymaking when it comes to both local air quality measures and national decarbonisation strategies.