2nd November 2021

Classic Vehicles and Ultra Low Emissions Zones

London introduced their Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in April 2019 and it wasn’t long before 13 other cities, including Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Bristol followed suit. With London now expanding their ULEZ zone to cover all areas within the North and South Circular roads, a lot of drivers are wondering how they will be impacted by the charges.

With London leading the way in the fight against air pollution, so far it has provided the legislative template for ULEZ schemes to be rolled out in other cities, with the aim of producing a significant drop in carbon gas levels by 2025.

The new regulations will see a significant reduction of petrol and diesel cars on the roads where these ULEZ zones are in force unless drivers are willing to pay, but there is a glimmer of hope for classic owners who may have vehicles that are exempt from the ULEZ charge.

Classic vehicles are covered by two exemptions. First, if the vehicle was registered before 1st January 1973, it is automatically exempt from the ULEZ charge, and second, the rolling 40-year exemption.

The rolling exemption was introduced at the same time as the reforms to the MOT regulations and states that any vehicle of more than 40 years of age will not have to pay the charge to enter the ULEZ zones. As the name suggests, the cut-off for this exemption works on a rolling basis, so this year the cut off is April 1981 but next year it will be April 1982. You will need to apply for tax exemption once your vehicle reaches the 40-year mark. Find out more on gov.uk.

There are a host of modern classics that could be used in these ULEZ zones this year without you having to pay a charge, including the Audi Quattro, the Mercedes W126 S Class, the Lotus Espirit Turbo, the Mk1 Gold Cabriolet, the BMW 650i, the Jaguar XK and even the Bentley Continental GT.

Do you have a classic that can be used in the ULEZ zones without a charge? Let us know in the comments.

I have a 1973 Mk1 facelift 2.0 GT Capri. I created an account to register it and was told they knew about it and I did not need to register. Slightly confusing, maybe I need to check again as it still had two charges against it.

IGO, 12/11/2021

Many of my fellow members of the VFR800 Facebook group have had their bikes tested and passed the ULEZ test for the Gen6 models, that’s 2002 onward.

Benny, 10/11/2021

My 1958 MGA is fine, but I have two 3.5.L Rover SD1’s, 1984 and 1987, so a couple of years to wait before 80’s elegance can return to London at around 20 mpg.

Robin, 09/11/2021