The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and You
The Ultra Low Emission Zone: What you need to know
In a bid to increase the air quality of London, the Ultra Low Emission Zone was rolled out in April 2019. We’re breaking down the information around the ULEZ so you know what you need to know.
What is the ULEZ?
ULEZ stands for Ultra Low Emission Zone. It’s a government initiative set up by Boris Johnson and brought forward by the current Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to address the issues surrounding air quality in the capital.
The Ultra Low Emission Zone provides strict guidelines on what vehicles it deems to emit too much pollution.
It looks to reduce the number of pollutants in the air by encouraging people who drive into London to drive more eco-friendly vehicles or pay a fine. It operates 24/7, so be aware.
Most vehicles will be affected by the ULEZ including this covers everything from cars, motorbikes, and vans.
From 8th April 2019, it will cover the same area as the Congestion charge but will be extended further up to the North and South Circular roads in October 2021.
The ULEZ is going to replace the T-Charge but will be in addition to the already standing Low Emission Zone and Congestion charges.
What vehicles are exempt from the ULEZ?
There are a few exemptions for the ULEZ charge, which are the following:
- Agricultural vehicles
- Military vehicles
- Non-road going vehicles which are allowed to drive on the highway (for example, excavators)
- Certain types of mobile cranes
- Vehicles older than 40 years (built in or before 1979)
- Not for profit minibuses
- Showman’s vehicles
- London-licenced taxis
- Vehicles for disabled people (under a sunset period until October 2025)
What is Euro 6?
Euro 6 is an emissions standard to ensure vehicles are emitting low levels of pollution. It was designed as a way to regulate vehicle emissions after discovering the damages they cause to the environment and to the population.
As time goes on, the number of acceptable emissions have been reduced; we’re currently in our sixth generation, hence Euro 6, which has been the standard since September 2014.
For our eagle-eyed readers, you may have noticed Euro 6 on all of our vehicles. All new vehicles must be held to the Euro 6 standard. One of the ways of ensuring a van is at the Euro 6 standard is with AdBlue – a chemical that is injected in small amounts that breaks down mono-nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust to harmless nitrogen and carbon.
Why is the Ultra Low Emission Zone important?
The ULEZ is important for controlling the air quality in London and the effect it has on its citizens. It is said thousands of Londoners die prematurely from the long-term exposure to air pollution, and 438 schools are in areas that exceed the legal air quality levels. The Ultra Low Emissions Zone aims to decrease the amount of pollution in London to help the health needs of its population.
In a business sense, it’s important to take note of the ULEZ because of the hefty fines that come with driving a non-compliant vehicle into the capital. Anyone driving a vehicle that doesn’t meet the standards looks to receive a £12.50 fine. As you can imagine, this adds up pretty quickly!
Does the ULEZ affect me?
The Ultra Low Emission Zone will be important to anyone who goes into the capital regularly, especially if they’re already paying the congestion charge and Low Emission Zone charge as it’s in addition to the already standing charges. You can check whether your vehicle meets the emissions requirements by checking its registration.
There’s also a handy postcode checker to see if you’ll be in the ULEZ area.
It’s important to note the ULEZ will be expanding in 2021, so make sure you don’t get caught out! There’s also pressure on other areas of the UK to introduce low emission zones of their own. Plans have been outlined to allow other authorities to introduce clean air zones, so keep this in mind for the future.
What can I do about it?
It’s likely for the best to invest in a newer vehicle if you’re still using a pre-Euro 6 vehicle and going into the capital, as you could be looking at paying an extra £3000+ a year, based on Monday-Friday.
There are also some exemptions you might want to look at, most notably the sunset period for residents to give themselves some time to change their vehicles. The discount will be available to those who live within the ULEZ and in designated areas next to the boundary where the Congestion Charge residents’ discount applies.
The people eligible for the discount must be living in the area and registered with TFL. It’s available from 8 April 2019 to 24 October 2021, when the discount will end and residents will pay the full charge.
There are a few other options regarding upgrading to LPG or emission reduction technology which might be worth looking into.
A Summary of the Ultra Low Emission Zone:
- ULEZ is brought in to reduce levels of pollutants in London
- Vehicles must be held to the correct emissions standards else a fine will apply
- The fine for a van in the ULEZ without Euro 6 will be £12.50 a day
- The charge comes in on the 8th of April
- The boundaries are set to expand in October 2021
Vantastec and Euro 6
At Vantastec, we’re always looking for new ways to lead the industry and keep green. All of our diesel vans are Euro 6 compliant, so you can be assured if you buy a new vehicle with us, it will keep to the standards.
For the most economical vans on the road, we like the Renault Trafic, which is available both as a converted refrigerated vehicle or as a crew/panel.