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We originally wrote about the emissions standard, Euro VI which came into force in 2019 but are aware that there have been changes since then, for example the introduction of Euro 6d which came into law in January 2022.

Euro 6d emission standards

Euro 6d applies to new cars (not heavy-duty vehicles) and was introduced with the goal of future production of much cleaner diesel vehicles. This specific emission standard ensures that new diesel cars pass real-world emission testing to equal emission levels in a laboratory test, with a deviation of only 43% allowed (as opposed to Euro 6-TEMP, which allows for a deviation of 110%).

Please note that new petrol cars must also meet Euro 6d limits.

Minimum emission standards of new vehicles

All new vehicles produced from September 2022 have minimum emission standards.

  • For petrol, this is Euro 4
  • For diesel, this is Euro 6
  • For heavy duty diesel, this is Euro VI.

It should be noted here that emission standards for heavy duty vehicles such as HGVs and buses are referred to with roman numerals, and light-duty vehicles are referred to with emission standards using numbers.

Expansion of Clean Air Zones (CAZ)

When we wrote in 2018 about incoming emission standards and government plans to penalise “dirty” vehicles, Clean Air Zones (CAZ) and London’s Low Emission Zones (LEZ) and Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) were very much in their infancy. Whilst we could see the potential for haulage companies to be affected by the 20% addition to road tax, the added factor of paying to drive through certain areas with vehicles that didn’t mean emission standards wasn’t much of a consideration, and certainly not outside of London. However, since then, many cities have introduced CAZs and LEZs and the ULEZ zones in London are currently being expanded as we write this in 2023.

  • Different types of vehicles will have to adhere to different emission standards which remain constant through each CAZ, LEZ and the ULEZ to avoid confusion.
  • The latest city to introduce a CAZ for drivers is Sheffield, which came into force in February 2023. London have also expanded the ULEZ as of August 2023 to include all of Greater London.
  • CAZ zones currently being reviewed or planned include Manchester, Cambridge, Liverpool, Sefton, St Albans, Warrington and Wokingham. Other cities such as Leicester, Exeter and Derby have opposed the plans to introduce CAZ.

Original 2018 piece: The EU’s latest nitrogen oxide emissions standard, Euro VI, is due to come into law on Feb 19th, 2019 and from that date, any haulage vehicles that do not meet this standard will be see 20% added to their road tax. Those that do comply will be eligible for a 10% reduction.

This is great news for haulage companies that have plans to or have already invested in lorries that meet the Euro VI standard, but for smaller operators, the additional 20% tax bill could have a weighty impact, beyond the initial increase in road tax. The resale value of slightly older trucks that do not meet Euro VI standards will drop, making the cost of buying in new (and more expensive) lorries even higher.

Christopher Snelling, the FTA’s head of UK policy, has raised concerns about the impact this may have on SMEs; ‘The reduction of 10% in the road user levy for Euro VI lorries is good news, as it shows recognition for the success of the HGV Euro VI vehicles, which have 80 percent lower real-world local emissions than previous lorries. However, the introduction of the increased levy on pre-Euro VI trucks will actually hurt small- and medium-sized business. It hurts them because the re-sale value of their slightly older lorries – the Euro IV and Vs – has fallen so much, making the jump to afford a new Euro VI [vehicle] so much greater.’

Whilst the government’s approach to improving air quality is in some ways commendable, this penalisation may see smaller companies struggling in what are already hard times, with rocketing fuel prices to contend with. Jesse Norman, Minister for Industry and Energy, said, ‘This government is committed to improving the air we breathe and delivering a green revolution in transport,’ he said. ‘We’re changing the HGV levy to encourage firms to phase out the most polluting lorries and bring in the cleanest ones.’

Euro VI lorries produce 80 percent less nitrogen oxide than older versions, such as the Euro IV and Vs. There are a range of technologies available, but the overall output looks to reduce emissions whilst improving fuel consumption and AdBlue® consumption.