Transporter 6.1 for CD 180 Craig featureTransporter 6.1 for CD 180 Craig feature


Used van prices hit record highs as Ulez extension beckons

  • Tradespeople don’t see why they should be forced into replacing their vehicles when they’re running perfectly

Time 7:03 am, March 11, 2023

Prices of used late-model vans have risen by record levels as tradespeople look to secure themselves against the proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) extension in Greater London this summer.

From August, the £12.50 daily charge for non-Euro 6 diesel vehicles will extend to all London boroughs, covering almost all of the area inside the M25.

In November 2022 (the latest month for which figures are available), used van prices rose by £240 compared with October to reach £9,914: the highest monthly value recorded and a year-on-year increase of more than 11 per cent in used van values.

It was driven by substantial demand and limited supply as buyers clamoured to get compliant vehicles to continue to run their businesses.

The one with the biggest rise was the VW Transporter, pictured at top, with values of Euro 6 models increasing by £1,140 on average over the past year.

Jason Price, a roofer from Fenstanton in Cambridgeshire, faces a substantial but all-too-common challenge, as most of his contract work is in north and east London – a 60-mile commute that he does at least three days a week in his 2008 Citroen Relay.

‘I bought my van when it was three years old and have maintained it carefully,’ he said.

‘It’s my livelihood – it’s covered over 200,000 miles but it’s still running perfectly and I have no need or desire to replace it, as it’s challenging enough being self-employed at the moment with the cost-of-living increases.

‘Why should I, as a small business, be forced to part with a five-figure sum – as that’s what most Euro 6 vans are going for – just so I can continue to work hard and contribute my taxes to the economy?

Louie French, for CD 180 Craig feature

Old Bexley and Sidcup MP Louie French doesn’t believe the expanded Ulez will improve air quality in places such as Bexley

‘It’s not fair on so many small businesses and is an ill-thought-out scheme, allowing used van sellers to capitulate.’

The situation isn’t helped by constricted supply of new light commercial vehicles, with availability down by more than 22 per cent throughout 2022 because of production challenges headed up by the global semiconductor shortage.

This has seen vehicle production in the UK fall to record lows, including at one major van factory in Luton where Vauxhall, Citroen, Fiat and Peugeot LCVs are produced.

Meanwhile, a number of London boroughs have said they won’t comply with the Mayor of London’s request to install Ulez cameras until motorists and business users are treated more fairly.

Among them are Harrow, Hillingdon, Richmond, Croydon, Sutton, Bromley, Bexley, Havering and Kingston.

Louie French, the Tory MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, said: ‘Whilst I completely believe action must be taken to tackle air pollution and I welcome the government’s action on this, there is no evidence that the expanded Ulez will improve air quality in outer London boroughs like Bexley.’

A Harrow Council spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that it ‘will not be co-operating with TfL in putting cameras in Harrow’.

They also told the service: ‘The evidence that Ulez will work is not there. We have suggested more generous scrappage schemes for instance or better public transport, but this scheme fails to understand the difference between outer and inner London.’

Sutton Council has confirmed that it will block the installation of Ulez CCTV as well, arguing that it will negatively impact on small business owners and key workers.

This feature appears in the current edition of Car Dealer – issue 180 – along with news, views, reviews, interviews and much more! Read and download it for free here!

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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