Fleet operators should check the emission standards of their current vehicles – particularly ensuring that replacement programmes mean Euro6 diesel emission standards will be met by the time of the ULEZ’s introduction – or they will pay the price for entry. Typically petrol-engined cars operated by fleets will be of an age that they meet entry eligibility.
The ULEZ will cover the same area as the capital’s existing congestion charging zone. Petrol vehicles that don’t meet Euro4 emission standards and diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro6 emission standards will have to pay a ULEZ daily fee (£12.50 for cars, vans and motorbikes; £100 for buses, coaches and HGVs) to drive in the zone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
It means petrol cars more than 13 years old in 2019, and diesel cars more than four years old in 2019, are unlikely to meet the new standards. The total cost, with the congestion charge added (during the times of day it is applicable), for drivers with non-compliant cars to drive in central London will be £24 a day (£23 for congestion charge fleet auto pay customers).
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has already confirmed the £10 T-Charge, which will start in October this year. He is now proposing, following a public consultation launched last month that will be replaced by the ULEZ.
Furthermore, the Mayor is proposing to extend the ULEZ across Greater London for heavy diesel vehicles, including buses, coaches and lorries, in 2020, and up to the North and South Circular roads for cars, vans, minibuses and motorcycles in 2021.
In launching the consultation, the Mayor said he was committed to taking ambitious action to protect Londoners from the damaging health impacts of air pollution from toxic vehicle emissions.
The ULEZ will apply to all vehicle types, except black taxis. It is estimated that introducing the initiative in central London will result in nearly a 50% reduction in road transport NOx emissions in 2020.
Once the Mayor has finished consulting on the current ULEZ proposals in June, he will start consulting on actions that will expand the scheme in 2020 and again 12 months later.
The Mayor said that the planned timescales would provide Londoners, motorists coming into the capital from elsewhere and businesses which will be affected, sufficient time to take the necessary steps to prepare for the new standards. They also reflected the minimum amount of time needed for Transport for London to consult on and implement such technically complex schemes over such large parts of the capital.
Mr Khan said: “The air in London is lethal and I will not stand by and do nothing. I am introducing a new T-Charge this October and subject to consultation, I want to introduce the ULEZ in central London in April 2019. This alone will mean the capital has the toughest emission standard of any world city.
“But the scale of our air quality challenge is so big that I need to go further. I want to expand the ULEZ from 2020 for heavy vehicles such as buses, coaches and lorries so that all of London will benefit from cleaner air. Then from 2021, I want to expand it up to the North and South Circular roads for light vehicles, including cars and vans. These measures will help improve the air that millions of Londoners breathe.
“I want to announce my intention to consult on these proposals in good time so that business and those affected by new charges will have time to make changes they need to adapt to our low emission requirements.”
If a vehicle does not meet the ULEZ emissions standards and the daily charge is not paid, a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) will be issued payable by the registered owner or operator. The penalty would be in addition to any congestion charge or Low Emission Zone penalties received. For motorcycles, cars, vans and minibuses the penalty is £130 (reduced to £65 if paid within 14 days) and for HGVs, coaches and buses it will be £1,000 (reduced to £500 if paid within 14 days).
The consultation on the start date of the central London ULEZ runs until June 25. Other proposals will be consulted on later this year.
The T-Charge (Toxicity Charge) will be introduced on October 23. It applies to vehicles, including cars, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and HGVs, that do not meet Euro4 standards, typically those diesel and petrol vehicles registered before 2006. It will operate on top of, and during the same operating times, as the congestion charge (Monday to Friday 7am-6pm).