Fix Radio unveils the impact of the ULEZ expansion on tradespeople

Fix Radio

As the ULEZ expansion is just under two months away from coming into force, tradespeople are set to be among those worst hit by the new regulation. Research from the Federation of Master Builders has shown that increases to transportation costs, such as rising parking fees over the last 18 months, has forced 80% of tradespeople in the capital to increase their prices. Now, new national research revealed by Fix Radio has shown that the ULEZ expansion will have a direct and detrimental impact on close to a quarter of all construction businesses in Greater London, with another 21% saying that increased transportation costs has made travelling into cities with their van an impossibility, increasing to 23% in London.

The business landscape for sole traders and small businesses in the construction sector is facing increasing turbulence after the lockdown boom just a few years ago. Fix Radio found that almost a quarter of tradespeople have had to increase their prices as a result of inflation but are ultimately losing work as a result.

This has heightened fears about the impact this will have on tradespeople who face a £12.50 daily fee for vehicles not meeting minimum requirements – equivalent to more than £3,100 a year. The research also unveiled that 23% of tradespeople in Greater London say that taxpayers facing higher rates on vans for private use have already had a detrimental impact on their business.

To combat these increasing costs, a £110m scrappage scheme has been launched to help fund the purchase of new vehicles that are ULEZ-compliant. Under this fund, sole traders and tradespeople working for a micro-business have been granted extra provisions of between £5,000-£9,000 to help transition to a low-polluting or EV alternative.

However, for tradespeople, this allocation covers a mere fraction of what would be required to swap their vehicle. A report commissioned by Transport for London, estimated that 30,000 non-compliant vans currently use the ULEZ expansion area every day, despite the fact there are only 23,803 vans that meet the new requirements for sale in the UK.

The cost of steep parking fee rises, and ‘green’ motoring charges forces builders, plumbers and electricians in London spend £70 on average and a total of £140 a day including operating costs. According to Pier Consulting, with the average day rates and the additional ULEZ charges is now leaving tradespeople facing a loss of 21 workdays. Some have reported on Fix Radio that their daily costs have been as expensive as £300 to work in the capital.

Clive Holland, Broadcaster on Fix Radio, discusses the effect of the ULEZ expansion on tradespeople, “I have to say from a personal point of view I think through the pandemic our industry was asked to continue to build which we did. Without the construction industry, the UK economy would collapse – you’ve seen a lot of strikes recently but if tradespeople ever decided to strike it would cause significant issues throughout the UK. Tradespeople haven’t had the pat on the back that they deserve for helping through the pandemic and putting themselves in dangerous situations.

“When the ban on red diesel came, the ULEZ extension, the general taxation of vehicles and the electric vans requirement, they are all burdens to tradespeople which seriously affects their income. It is not only happening in London, it’s happening in cities around the UK including Birmingham and Bath, the tradesperson who is going about their daily job, I think is being victimised. Particular at this time with Brits battling inflation and recession, it means that customers are turning down jobs because they can’t afford it and tradespeople are encountering extra fees, such as the ULEZ charge which makes jobs less desirable.”

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