The growing use of Clean Air Zones by local authorities to crack down on air pollution could bring a significant rise in the numbers of Penalty Charge Notices generated by fleets, warns epyx.
Although at present, only six local authorities have made plans to introduce Clean Air Zones – covering Bath, Birmingham and Leeds (both delayed), London, Greater Manchester and Oxford – the use of such zones, and the standards involved, are likely to increase in the coming years.
According to epyx commercial director, Tim Meadows: “It is very likely that the introduction of the CAZs is just the leading edge of local measures to curb transport-based emissions that will grow relatively quickly in terms of the rules applied as well as geographically.”
Meadows added that there was also evidence that the charges and fines processed by fleets could be increased over the next few years by more stringent enforcement of speeding.
“Certainly, we seem to be entering an era when police forces are looking to get tougher on speeding and, again, this is likely to create more paperwork for fleets to handle.”
And fines and PCNs already a substantial issue for many fleets in terms of the costs associated with processing and the time lost in administration – Lex Autolease data shows company car driver motoring fines in the first half of 2019 rose 41% to £10.6m – any increase in volume is a sizeable issue.
Meadows set out that fleets had two possible solutions – to crack down on drivers who generate charges and fines, and to get better at processing them.
“We are already seeing signs that some fleets are getting tougher on their drivers, especially when it comes to repeat offenders, and this strategy makes sense.
“What we are also encountering is greater interest in processing of PCNs and fines, and identifying ways in which they can be handled faster and at a lower cost.”
This includes epyx’s own work to use its technology to help provide a solution to administration.
“This is still in its infancy but, as a business, we have a successful track record in this kind of process improvement and we believe that there are better ways to handle fines and charges than are currently being used,” he added.