The concept of the electric car is gradually growing as the UK government plans to eliminate diesel and petrol-powered cars by 2040. However, before that is the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London. Here, alongside Lookers, who offer a variety of cars such as the used Ford Fiesta, we look at what ULEZ is and what it means to motorists. After all, the world is constantly changing – and the world of driving is no different!
The introduction of an Ultra Low Emission Zone is intended to help improve the air quality in central London. Currently, air pollution is one of the biggest challenges London is facing. As road transport is the biggest source of the health-damaging emissions in London, the government is tightening its rules regarding traffic.
ULEZ came into play around the 8th April this year, with the area to be expanded from 25th October 2021. This expansion will see the zone include the inner London area.
To travel in the ULEZ, your vehicle will need to meet a new, tighter exhaust emission standard. Failure to do so will see you needing to pay a daily charge if you want to travel inside the area of the ULEZ.
If your car doesn’t meet the criteria, you’ll face a £12.50 charge each day. This charge runs every day of the year too. Generally, if you own a petrol car that was registered after 2005, it will meet the ULEZ standards. If you own a diesel car, it’s normally those registered after September 2015 that will be exempt from the charge.
Motorbikes and mopeds also carry the same cost for failing to have a model that meets the standards. Generally, motorbikes, or similar vehicles, will reach the required Euro 3 standards if they were registered with the DVLA after July 2007.
If you own a van, minibus or specialist vehicle, you’ll also face slightly different regulations than those in a car. Minimum emission standards are:
Petrol models sold from January 2006 should meet these standards, as too should diesel vans which were sold from September 2016. Like cars, the daily fee for those which don’t meet the standards is £12.50.
The cost rises considerably for lorries, coaches and large vehicles that aren’t up to the required standard. Any that don’t meet the Euro VI standards (usually those registered before 2014) must pay a daily charge of £100.
It’s important to note that these costs are in addition to any applicable Congestion Charge.
If you live within the boundaries of the ULEZ, you’ll receive a ‘sunset period’. This entitles you to a full discount of the charges, so you have more time to have a vehicle that meets the required standards. This discount will run until 24th October 2021. After this time, residents must pay the full charge.
Also benefitting from a sunset period are drivers with a disabled or disabled passenger vehicles tax class. Their exemption runs until 26th October 2025, unless their vehicle changes its tax class. Blue Badge holders, however, must pay the charge from its introduction date.
If you own a historic vehicle and it has historic vehicle tax, you’ll be exempt. This is the case unless the vehicle is used commercially. Agricultural and military vehicles are also exempt, as are certain types of mobile cranes.
Of course, we shouldn’t forget that electric vehicles are also automatically exempt, further encouraging the masses to make the change from ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles to EVs.
While the ULEZ may be an issue for drivers of older cars, it’s important to remember that it has been designed to help us in our everyday life and is just another step on the government’s drive for a cleaner UK. It’s clear that the government is aware of the issue that pollution is causing and is trying to eradicate further damage to our planet.