Extension to London emission zone set for 2021

In line with the government’s commitment to become carbon-neutral by 2050, further efforts to cut emissions are set to be enforced in 2021. From 25 October next year, central London’s existing Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be expanded, creating a single larger zone bounded by (but not including) the North Circular and South Circular roads.

What is the ULEZ?
The ULEZ is a zone within which all vehicles must meet required emissions standards or pay a daily charge, which is £12.50 for smaller vehicles and £100 for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses, minibuses and coaches weighing over five tonnes. It operates 24 hours per day, every day of the year except for Christmas Day. Although four in five cars already meet ULEZ emissions requirements, Transport for London is looking to clamp down on the remaining 20% of older vehicle models that are currently releasing pollution into the environment.

The ULEZ operates in addition to London’s Congestion Charge, which covers around 1% of Greater London and operates between 7am and 10pm seven days per week (except for Christmas Day). The daily charge has temporarily been increased to £15 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, in order to help reduce traffic and make the roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

What are the required emission standards?
The stringency of the required standards will depend on the vehicle; in order to avoid the ULEZ charge, drivers must meet the following European exhaust emissions standards:
Euro 3 (NOx) for motorcycles, mopeds and other small motorised vehicles
Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cards, vans and minibuses
Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans and minibuses

Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and buses, minibuses and coaches weighing over five tonnes must also meet Euro 6 standards, or pay the higher charge.

Other areas refuse to get left behind
London is far from the only area of the country causing damaging levels of pollution. Bath and North East Somerset Council is set to introduce its own ‘Clean Air Zone’ (CAZ) from 15 March 2021, in accordance with the government’s Clean Air Zone Framework.

There are four ‘classes’ of CAZ, which local authorities can choose as appropriate depending on their emission reduction goals. These classes govern which vehicles are chargeable under the CAZ, as follows:

  • Class A: Buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles
  • Class B: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and heavy goods vehicles
  • Class C: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans and minibuses
  • Class D: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses and cars – the local authority has the option to include motorbikes as well.

As a Class C CAZ, private cars and motorbikes in Bath are exempt from the charge but other vehicles such as buses, coaches and HGVs must comply with Euro 4 (petrol) or Euro 6 (diesel) standards to avoid being charged. Although many taxis and private hire vehicles are cars, they are included in all classes of CAZ because they are more likely to be on the roads frequently, therefore creating more pollution.

Birmingham will be introducing its own Class D CAZ shortly after in June 2021. Meanwhile, Bristol and Greater Manchester will potentially be joining them in 2022 and beyond.

If you require further information, please contact the team transport@woodfines.co.uk.

-Charlotte Hunt 

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