It has been 25 years since the ‘Euro 1′ standard required the fitting of catalytic converters to petrol cars, reducing the levels of carbon monoxide being released into the environment. Euro 6 is the latest in this series of standards and seeks to reduce pollutants such as hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter as well as carbon monoxide.
We spoke to John Dewberry, Managing Director of Allenby Coach Hire, to find out what he thinks of this legislation and how it affects the coach hire industry as a whole.
“We’ve known this has been coming for the last 5 years” explains John. “Because of our policy of replacing all our vehicles every 3 years, we have been choosing to buy Euro 6 vehicles and now more than half of our fleet is compliant with the new Euro 6 emissions legislation.”
Brexit and the May election
John believes that neither Brexit nor the upcoming May election will affect or delay these changes in emissions standards. “If vehicle manufacturers want to sell their products in Europe, or if coach companies want to drive in Europe, they will need to comply with Euro 6.
Also, the mayor of London has put into place legislation that will prevent non-Euro 6 vehicles from entering the congestion zone by 2019. So one way or another, if you run a coach hire company, you will eventually need to replace your fleet.”
Impacts on the coach hire industry
Needless to say, although these new standards have been expected for a while, it will mean major changes for anyone running their business using on-road vehicles. So what impacts will these changes will have on Allenby Coach Hire’s competitors?
“Some coach companies, if they don’t renew their vehicles frequently, will find it impossible to fund the replacement of their fleet. If the business owner is nearing retirement age, perhaps they’ll decide to retire early. Or perhaps they’ll decide not to offer any trips into London” John suggests.
“We’ve had this type of change before though, with Euro 5 and previous iterations, so in general, people will just get on with it” he adds.
The future of coach hire and emissions standards
In John’s opinion, this will be the last round of standards for combustion engine vehicles. “It’s likely that the next wave of changes will require all new vehicles to be electric” states John simply. “The coaches that we’ll buy next April, for instance, will be Euro 6 compliant. But they’ll probably be electric the following year”.
Overall John is positive about such changes and improving the air quality for all. “I think it is necessary to reduce the emissions that are coming out of vehicles on the road. Nobody wants their town full of dirty lorries and cars polluting the air. But it’s a very complex issue” says John.
“Electric cars may produce next to no particulates to get discharged into the air, but how is that electricity being generated? And what is the carbon footprint of making the electrical cars and vans in the first place? We need to have a view on the bigger picture of such environmental initiatives” he points out.
An alternative solution to electric vehicles is already being trialled in London in 2017 – the hydrogen-powered, zero-emission buses made by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland. The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has committed to buying about 300 zero emission buses by 2020 for use in the capital.
“This technology is the ideal solution, the only by product of these machines is water, but they’re too expensive at the moment to be a feasible solution for the vast majority of businesses” John concludes.
One thing is certain, with his finger on the pulse of the future of transportation, John Dewberry will make sure Allenby Coach Hire stays forward-thinking and up to date will all regulations.