What are the implications of the ULEZ introduction?

On the 8th April 2019, Sadiq Khan introduced the Ultra-Low Emission Zone on to the population of our capital. The aim of which to further clean our city's air and enabling only cleaner cars to enter the most polluted areas of the city. The focus is on Nitrogen Oxide, these pollutants are responsible for the extreme levels of Nitrogen Dioxide which have led to, if the guardian is to be believed, London having the joint third worst air Quality after Moscow and Paris (Guardian 22 May 2018). The ULEZ charge has caused a spark of rage from many Londoners for a number of reasons. Some well documented opinions consist of: is the charge actually going to change anything? Is it just a Tax? Why not principally ban toxic vehicles if they are that bad?

All of this sounds strikingly familiar, in 2003 when the congestion charge was introduced. The charges and motives can seem very similar, which in a lot of cases I feel has confused the message.

The congestion charge was introduced to ensure a safer and less congested Capital city during peak times, aiming to urge people on the public transport system. The charge is a ubiquitous fee, for any and all vehicles (Except Plug in hybrid and fully electronic cars) during peak times. It wasn’t specifically focused around protecting the environment. This is where ULEZ is different, regardless of time or day, if your vehicle does not comply you will have to pay the fee. No subsidies for local residents or exceptions. This has caused a shift in the buying motivations for Londoners. If You live inside the zone and have a non-compliant vehicle the costs can mount thick and fast. With the ULEZ due to expand in 2021 to much greater radius, including the south and north circular roads. Buyers are understandably treading very carefully before purchase.

One myth which is often considered as fact, is that ‘all diesel cars are banned’. Largely speaking this isn’t the case, the ULEZ requires a Euro 6 level of efficiency and any diesel car introduced after September 2015 has to comply to this standard. So, if diesel works best for your lifestyle then go ahead and buy one, just make sure it is Euro 6. The requirement for petrol cars is Euro 4, remember this charge is focused purely at lowering NOX gasses in the city. So, any petrol vehicle introduced from January 2006 will meet this standard. This means a much older petrol car will be exempt but a 5-year-old diesel may not. This makes the decision-making process much harder than you would expect. Depending on budget you might only have the option to purchase a much older car than you would ideally like as a 2014 (just 5 years old) diesel car would cost you an additional £12.50 Per Day. The ULEZ is only of concern if you drive into the restricted areas, if you never drive into London, the congestion and ULEZ won’t apply to you. But I understand that why not just outright ban them is a valid point. I feel that many Londoners have raised this issue and argued effectively that if these gasses are so harmful why can’t we just ban them on principle. There is no solid answer on this but it seems a transition period is in place, allowing for affordable alternatives to be introduced and the infrastructure for electronic cars to ramp up in order to meet demand. 

There is a convenient tool for checking all vehicles which you can find below, simply input your registration and the gov website will tell you if your car complies or not. https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/check-your-vehicle-35896

Here at Prestige Cars Kent, we are checking all of our diesel cars for you, and ensuring this information is easily readable in our adverts so you can see if your new car is compliant or not.

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If you are interested in either of the cars detailed within this post or would like more information on our selection of ULEZ compliant vehicles, please use the form to the right to enquire with us directly.

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