Over 1.6m London motorists face having to change their car to comply with the £12/day ULEZ charge to be launched in 2021 — a much bigger figure than officially recognised by the London authorities — according to the car industry’s own estimate obtained by Autocar.
The 1.6m figure comes from the SMMT car-makers trade body, which compiles detailed registration figures for the industry. Its figure includes cars inside the ULEZ zone as well as the outer London Boroughs, many of which would normally be driven inside the zone.
Breaking down the SMMT figures, it says 782,439 Euro 0-5 diesels and 858,018 Euro 0-3 petrols are registered in the Greater London area.
TfL has provided Autocar with 2016 figures for the cars with the same emissions categories - 321k diesels and 255k petrols – a total of 576k.
The approximate 1m difference between the two is likely to represent the number of cars in the Greater London area — inside the M25 — many of which can be expected to venture into the ULEZ area putting pressure on their owners to change to more modern cars.
Breaking down its figures for the 2016 ‘Greater London Motorparc’, the SMMT says that 782,439 diesels and 858,018 petrols will be hit by the new rules which single out Euro 0-5 diesels and Euro 0-3 petrols for a £12/day charge.
Whereas TfL believes that just 321k diesels and 255k petrols will be affected – a total of 576k.
If accurate, the large SMMT figure suggests a staggeringly rapid changeover will wipe out huge numbers of otherwise serviceable older cars and ‘young classics’ on London’s roads over the next three years.
Hardest hit will be owners of relatively new EU5 diesels — models most closely associated with dieselgate — which today might be only 3.5 years old. By 2021 the last of the EU5s will be just seven years old – that’s the average age of the British car fleet.
Drivers using a petrol as an everyday car, will suffer if they own a pre-2005 model, the date EU4 started. Today those models are 12 years old, still relatively new with plenty of mileage left in them.
But worst hit will be enthusiast owners of ‘young classics’. Complete generations of 1980s, 1990s and 2000s enthusiast cars will become prohibitively expensive to run as daily drivers in London.
In defence of its policy, Alex Williams, TfL’s Director of City Planning, linked the policy to air pollution, especially around London’s schools.
“Urgent action is required to tackle London’s air quality crisis and reduce emissions from older more polluting vehicles,” he said.
“We are currently consulting on expanding the ULEZ, which would see a 71 per cent reduction in schools in high pollution areas in 2021 – lowering the exposure of school children to harmful toxins that can reduce their lung development.”
Issuing a plea to motorists to engage with the consultation by February 28th, Williams said: “I would encourage anyone who is affected by the proposals to respond to the consultation to help us shape our plans.”
TfL’s analysis expects many motorists to change to newer cars to avoid the £12/day charge, although it hasn’t commented on the stark choice facing owners of ‘young classics’ – serviceable sports models that will ultimately become the classics of tomorrow.