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In early 2019 London became one of the first UK cities to establish an Ultra Low Emission Zone that includes all vehicles, and which for some drivers, may be chargeable to enter.

From the 8 April 2019, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) applies throughout most of Greater London and charges will be in addition to the weekday congestion charge.

The charges to enter the ULEZ will be as follows:

£12.50 – for most vehicle types, including cars, motorcycles and vans (up to and including 3.5 tonnes)
£100.00 – for heavier vehicles, including lorries (over 3.5 tonnes) and buses/coaches (over 5 tonnes)

The daily ULEZ charge runs from midnight to midnight, 7 days a week, every day of the year, within the same area as the current Congestion Charging Zone (CCZ). (Source: Transport for London)

Vehicles need to meet the different emission standards for the ULEZ based on their vehicle type, and the type of emission rather than the vehicle age; alternatively, exemption will depend on your taxation class.

Any vehicle that meets the ULEZ standard will be able to travel in the zone without paying the ULEZ charge. Drivers of petrol cars with engines that are compliant with Euro 4 emissions regulations, those generally registered with the DVLA after 2005, will not be subject to the ULEZ charge. However, drivers of diesel-powered cars will only be exempt if the engine complies with the Euro 6 vehicle emission rules, which came into force in September 2015; if your diesel car is older than that, it’s possible it will be subject to the ULEZ charge.

Obviously, there are some other exemptions to the charges. Residents, taxis and disabled vehicles can be granted exemption subject to meeting the required criteria and relevant applications made.

If you are a resident living within the charging zone, you can find out more information here.

However, the one that we are most interested in is historic vehicles.

…all vehicles registered before 1 January 1973 will be exempt from the ULEZ

According to TfL, in line with the existing Low Emission Zone (LEZ) discount, all vehicles registered before 1 January 1973 will be exempt from the ULEZ, regardless of commercial use or otherwise.

In addition, all vehicles that have a historic vehicle tax class will be exempt from the ULEZ. You can now apply to stop paying vehicle tax if your vehicle was built more than 40 years ago, which continues on a rolling 40-year system. This now means that when the ULEZ launches in April 2019, vehicles built before 1979 will be eligible to apply for historic vehicle tax class.

Transport for London have a checking service so you can find out whether your vehicle will be charged to enter the ULEZ. You can check your vehicle online here. According to the TFL website, this tool helps you to work out whether your vehicle meets the Ultra Low Emission Zone standards. Any vehicle that meets the ULEZ standard will be able to travel in the zone without paying the ULEZ charge.

The ULEZ’s will continue to grow, as from the 25th October 2021 the area will expand to the inner London area bounded by the North and South Circular roads. If you are driving any petrol or diesel vehicle within this enlarged area you will also need to meet new tighter emissions standards or pay a daily charge. Other cities across the country propose to adopt similar charging approaches including Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle and Manchester.

As published in Classic Car Weekly on the 18th September 2019, a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will be introduced into the area within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road in Birmingham on the 1st July 2020. Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone will cover all the roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, but not the Middleway itself. Petrol engine vehicles entering the CAZ must meet Euro 4 emissions levels and diesel engines Euro 6 levels or face a £8 daily charge. Vehicles over 40 years old will be exempt from charging, unless they are used commercially.

Classic Car Weekly also reference other UK Clean Air Zone proposals:

·         Scottish cities have announced that CAZ are being planned.

·         Sheffield is considering whether or not to charge classic vehicles in commercial use.

·         Southampton has confirmed all commercial vehicles will be exempt.

·         Oxford is planning on introducing a no vehicle policy into the city after 2020, unless zero-emission.

·         Leeds will be making exemptions for historic catering vans.

·         Bath will not charge commercial historic’s.

·         Manchester has not commented on their plans.

(Source: Classic Car Weekly)

It is also worth keeping in mind that a zero emissions zone has been outlined to come into force in central London from 2025.

Don’t forget that if your vehicle isn’t exempt and you don’t pay your charge in time, you may be subject to a penalty.

The above article is correct as of 18th September 2019. For updates and full details, please visit the links listed below.

Useful Links:

Related Pages:

MoT exemption explained
Breaking records in a 30-year-old Volvo
Modern classic car insurance