London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone is set to change in August 2023. Here’s everything you need to know about the ULEZ expansion, and the cars it affects.
London’s controversial Ultra Low Emissions Zone has been around for a while now. The idea was first mooted while Boris Johnson was still the Mayor of London, but it wasn’t until Sadiq Khan took over that the plan actually came into effect. Initially, ULEZ was reserved for central London only, but in 2021 it grew to cover the area within the North and South circular roads. Now, it’s set to be enforced on the vast majority of London neighborhoods. Check out the full ULEZ expansion perimeter here.
So, what is ULEZ? Well, in simple terms, it’s an anti-pollution measure. If you’re caught driving through London in a car that doesn’t meet the government’s emissions standards, then you’ll be charged £12.50. To put that into context, if you decided to run a non-compliant car within the ULEZ perimeter for a year, you’d be charged north of £4000. So, it’s not something you want to lose track of!
At the moment, petrol cars that meet Euro 4 standards (for nitrogen oxides, NOx) and diesel vehicles that meet Euro 6 standards (for NOx & ‘exhaust particulate matter’) are at the threshold required to avoid ULEZ charges. As a general rule of thumb, petrol cars built in 2005 or later, and diesels built in 2015 or later, tend to meet those criteria.
Some non-compliant vehicles that exist outside of those parameters are exempt from ULEZ taxation though; the most relevant to us being 40-year-old classics, or vehicles that have been registered in the ‘disabled’ tax category. So, by the time the expansion comes into effect, if your car was built in 1983 or earlier, you won’t be charged for ULEZ non-compliance. Interestingly, work vehicles like privately owned vans and pick-ups aren’t part of the exemption list, which has led to criticism. Although these vehicles are indeed likely to produce plenty of diesel emissions, it could be argued that the legislation is unfairly skewed against the working class. I mean, just think about how many capital-based small businesses will be forced to give up their vehicles next year, while modern luxury G-Class and Range Rover SUVs remain on the streets. So, while the ambition of reducing pollution levels is an admirable one, the current ULEZ system perhaps targets the wrong section of the public.
Still with me? Good, because if you’re a car enthusiast in London, you’ll definitely want to stick around for the next bit.
Now that you’re up to speed, it’s worth re-assessing which cars will actually be affected by all of this. See, the thing is, although Euro 4 petrol emissions standards were enforced upon manufacturers in 2005, some cars which meet those requirements have been produced since 2001. So, if you’ve got an 04 plate sitting on your drive, there might not be a need to sell just yet…
Some good examples of this are sporty turn-of-the-century Toyotas. If you’re running a Mk7 Celica (regardless of whether it’s a 140 or a 190), you’ll be absolutely fine – even if it’s an 02-plate car. The same goes for Mk3 MR2 roadsters. However, things can quickly get quite complex. Take the Mk1 Lexus IS200, for example – a vehicle which is not only a solid V6 cruiser, but also a popular entry-level drift car. Most of these will comply with ULEZ regulations, however, those built between 1999-2000 do not.
Further discrepancies can occur between examples of the same model when you start to get imports involved. For instance, All UK market Nissan 350Zs are exempt from the ULEZ charge (even the 03/04 ones), however, imported 350Zs will tend to show up as falling foul of the threshold. Given that both the UKDM and JDM 350Zs run exactly the same VQ engine, this is a bizarre – and thoroughly annoying – quirk of the system. It is possible to get the issue sorted if you dispute it with Transport for London, but be prepared to deal with plenty of admin, and potentially extra cost too…
As for the diesel end of the spectrum, you’ll need a much newer car to meet the ULEZ requirements. As stated earlier, 2015 is the sort of age of car that you’re looking for, but again, sometimes it’s not that simple. The Mk3 SEAT Leon TDI FR, for example, is a tricky one. Cars made in the second half of 2015 are in the clear, but examples that were built in the first half will be caught out by the ULEZ expansion. Likewise, some diesels built prior to 2015 are safe from ULEZ fines too. The 2014 Volkswagen Scirocco is perfectly legal in 150hp TDI Bluemotion guise, but the 140hp Bluemotions and 175hp TDI GTs of the same year are not ULEZ compliant.
Anyway, as you can see, this is a subject with many layers to it, so to keep things as simple as possible, we’ve put together a list of all the most popular petrol tuner cars we could think of that sadly do not meet the ULEZ threshold. So, if you own one of these in London, unfortunately it soon might be time to sell – or move. Your choice…
Popular Petrol Tuner Cars That Will Be Affected By The ULEZ Expansion:
- Audi TT Mk1 180hp (1999-2001/X-Reg)
- Audi TT Mk1 225hp (1999-2000)
- All other VAG PQ34 models with the same engines (A3/S3/Golf/Bora/Leon/Octavia)
- BMW 3-Series variants (E30 & E36 generation)
- BMW 3-Series variants (E46 gen, 1999-2000 only)
- Fast Fords (1983-2000)
- Ford Puma Mk1
- Honda Civic EJ & EK generations
- Honda Integra Type R DC2 (Imported DC5s likely to need disputing)
- Honda S2000 (1999-2000 only)
- Lexus IS200 (1999-2000 only)
- Mazda MX-5 Mk1
- Mazda MX-5 Mk2 1.6
- Mazda MX-5 Mk2 1.8 (1998-2003 only)
- Mazda RX-7 FC & FD
- Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII & older
- Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII (FQ300 & FQ320 only)
- Nissan Z-Cars (Z32 and all earlier generations up to 1983)
- All generations of Nissan S-Chassis coupes
- R32, R33 & R34 Nissan Skylines
- Subaru Impreza Mk1
- Toyota Celica (T160, T180, T200)
- Toyota MR2 Mk1 & Mk2
- Toyota Supra Mk4 & older
Of course, this is by no means an all-encompassing list, so for ultimate peace of mind, be sure to search up your car specifically via the TfL ULEZ checker. As you can see though, the 2023 ULEZ expansion is likely to have a big impact upon the used car market. Non-compliant vehicles like the ones listed above may become more affordable/plentiful in some cases (which is great for the rest of the UK), but ULEZ-compliant cars are perhaps likely to warrant a slightly larger asking price. Something to keep an eye on, perhaps.
Denial of responsibility! Bulletin Reporter is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – admin@ bulletinreporter.com . The content will be deleted within 24 hours.