Currently reading: London Ultra Low Emission Zone to affect 500,000 motorists from 2021
New £12 daily charge will force some drivers to change their car in order to comply
Julian Rendell
News
5 mins read
1 February 2018

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.

£10 T-charge for high polluting vehicles in London 

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.

Diesel tax hike confirmed

“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.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Read our review

Car review
Volvo XC40

Volvo’s XC40 arrives in the crowded premium compact SUV segment and hits the right note with design, practicality and driving style

Back to top

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.

This group includes multiple generations of the Porsche 911 and Boxster/Cayman, Mazda MX-5, VW Golf GTi, Ford Escort/Sierra Cosworths, BMW M3/Z3/Z4, Merc S-Class/CLK/SLK/SL and many Volvo models. Even the first BMW Mini will be ensnared, sales started in 2001. While the Land Rover Defender, including the final run ‘Heritage’ model, will be forced out of London.

“We are not outlawing or banning any cars,” says a TfL spokesman, “there is still the option to use a car, but only after paying a £12 charge. Owners may just choose to use their vehicle less often.”

In reality an owner who uses a ‘young classic' every day faces an annual bill of £4380, while an overnight trip away — say to Silverstone or Goodwood — will cost £24 because the charge be paid on the journey out and back in over the weekend.

TfL says it expects 100,000 cars, 35,000 vans and 3,000 lorries per day to “be affected when it is introduced in 2021.”

But if the SMMT figure is accurate, the number will surely be much higher.

Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler diesel monkey tests: brands have 'blood on their hands'

Experience of the Congestion Charge (CC) also suggests that £12 will be a significant constraint: Why else introduce it? TfL has previously boasted of “pricing off” private cars from central London with the £11.50 CC.

Motorists will also remember that the CC started out at £5 in 2003 and has steadily more than doubled, first to £8 in 2005, £10 in 2008 and £11.50 in 2014.

Although the CC was not intended to reduce pollutants, it is worth noting that TfL’s itself reports no improvement in air quality in central London.

The T-Charge is being extended across London to address NOx and particulates (PPM), said to breach EU standards. The UK government has lost legal cases and now faces significant fines from the EU.

Countrywide, London’s ULEZ is just the start, however, with three other cities earmarked: Birmingham, Manchester and Oxford.

The widespread introduction of ANPR-enforced anti-car zones in UK cities also gives organisations like TfL and local authorites the power to ban any type of car as, and when, they wish.

In London, at least, owners of historic cars will be exempted from the ULEZ, largely thanks to lobbying by the Federation of British Historical Vehicle Clubs. “We have a strong argument that older, collector cars produce a tiny volume of pollutants and TfL has accepted that argument,” says FBHVC spokesman Geoff Lancaster.

Back to top

Historic cars are defined as 40 years old by the government, so by 2021, cars dating from 1981 will be exempt. And because the cut-off advances yearly, mid-80s cars will assume exemption by 2025, but that may be too late for many owners of ‘young classics’.

Autocar estimates suggest the total UK number of older petrol and diesels could be as high as 6 million. Since London makes up 8.4 per cent of the UK fleet, that’s equivalent to at least 500k cars, a huge number.

Read more:

Land Rover Defender review 

BMW M3 review 

£10 T-charge for high polluting vehicles in London 

Join the debate

Comments
23
Add a comment…
bowsersheepdog 5 February 2018

Fake news (in Autocar? surely not)

This is sensationalist bollocks from Rendell.  Why would anybody buy a new car to comply?  It'd cost more to buy a new car than simply paying the twelve quid for each day they drive their current car, for which virtually all of them would have paid in full by the time the increase comes into effect, if they haven't already at this stage.  Sixty quid a week to drive to work five days (or eighty-four if they drive every day), against a hundred or more quid a week to buy a new car.  Plus many of them probably wouldn't qualify for that size loan anyhow, because generally speaking the majority of drivers of the oldest cars are the less well-off sector of the population (you know the ones, those that the lefties always bleed dry despite their bullshit about fighting for the many).  And let's face it, even if everybody changed cars the lefties would just move the goalposts forward and charge for even newer cars.

405line 1 February 2018

What might have been a better idea....

....would have been to tax VAG and make an example of what happens when you try to poison and deceive UK citizens, but being as they are unable to find a suitable scapegoat after not checking the vehicles on sale (at the time), Joe public will have to doas he bought the device. What has also just occured to me is that it is not in TFL's best interest to have any private transport, thus they will keep coming out of the woodwork at to jump on the pollution bandwagon at every opportunity. Why wasn't transport for london actually testing londoners cars or from the start instead of "jumping out of the woodwork" 10+ years after the fact with some sanctimonious rhetoric. I am all for changes but don't take the financial ***s, none of us have the ability to buy tomorrows cars before they are actually produced and many of us do not have the  wherewithal to constantly be changing vehicles because some new standard is being touted, this is why I say we should crash the motoring system, which many of us seem to be doing or perhaps "we" are awaiting delivery of a crystal ball.

oaffie 1 February 2018

405line wrote:

405line wrote:

....would have been to tax VAG and make an example of what happens when you try to poison and deceive UK citizens, but being as they are unable to find a suitable scapegoat after not checking the vehicles on sale (at the time), Joe public will have to doas he bought the device. What has also just occured to me is that it is not in TFL's best interest to have any private transport, thus they will keep coming out of the woodwork at to jump on the pollution bandwagon at every opportunity. Why wasn't transport for london actually testing londoners cars or from the start instead of "jumping out of the woodwork" 10+ years after the fact with some sanctimonious rhetoric. I am all for changes but don't take the financial ***s, none of us have the ability to buy tomorrows cars before they are actually produced and many of us do not have the  wherewithal to constantly be changing vehicles because some new standard is being touted, this is why I say we should crash the motoring system, which many of us seem to be doing or perhaps "we" are awaiting delivery of a crystal ball.

 

Applying this principal you would also have to make an example of DEFRA who have unwittingly actively promoted and approved wood burning stoves.  To say they have dropped a clanger with this would be a massive understatement.  It's all coming undone now and our health will be all these things are banned.

405line 1 February 2018

....anyway you like it.

You can apply any principle that you care to do. I've been pulled from pillar to post over the years with the same argument at root cause maybe you have not. Thanks for a response in any case 

Marc 1 February 2018

oaffie wrote:

oaffie wrote:

405line wrote:

....would have been to tax VAG and make an example of what happens when you try to poison and deceive UK citizens, but being as they are unable to find a suitable scapegoat after not checking the vehicles on sale (at the time), Joe public will have to doas he bought the device. What has also just occured to me is that it is not in TFL's best interest to have any private transport, thus they will keep coming out of the woodwork at to jump on the pollution bandwagon at every opportunity. Why wasn't transport for london actually testing londoners cars or from the start instead of "jumping out of the woodwork" 10+ years after the fact with some sanctimonious rhetoric. I am all for changes but don't take the financial ***s, none of us have the ability to buy tomorrows cars before they are actually produced and many of us do not have the  wherewithal to constantly be changing vehicles because some new standard is being touted, this is why I say we should crash the motoring system, which many of us seem to be doing or perhaps "we" are awaiting delivery of a crystal ball.

 

Applying this principal you would also have to make an example of DEFRA who have unwittingly actively promoted and approved wood burning stoves.  To say they have dropped a clanger with this would be a massive understatement.  It's all coming undone now and our health will be all these things are banned.

www.whatstove.co.uk
Bit of reading for you.

Cobnapint 1 February 2018

@405line

Nail. Head.

Mikey C 1 February 2018

London's air quality is poor,

London's air quality is poor, clearly something needs to be done. I would question the use of the North and South circular routes as boundaries, as the A406 is a lot further out than the A205

Interestingly many older cars are still clean enough not to be hit. I have a 2002 petrol Focus, and this passes despite Euro IV not coming in until January 2006

Find an Autocar car review