How to avoid the ULEZ fine using a little-known legal loophole

Published: 28 January 2023, 07:56 EDT | Updated: 28 January 2023, 14:51 EDT

At midnight on August 29, an invisible curtain will descend around London, protected by thousands of cameras that will record the license plates of every car crossing the border.  

More cameras will monitor city routes, gathering data and collecting money, as Mayor Sadiq Khan's Ulez zone expands to cover the vast majority of the area within the M25.  

Opponents of the scheme claim that residents and businesses will have to spend large sums of money if they want to continue driving in the capital during the ongoing cost of living crisis. Last year, the scheme, which operates within the North and South Circular roads, raised nearly £227 million.  

Supporters of Mayor Khan's proposal argue that reducing pollution in the atmosphere will benefit all Londoners, particularly the young and those with chronic breathing conditions like asthma.

Yet, it isn't necessary to trade in your driving licence for a bus pass or squeeze into Lycra to collect your groceries, as there is a loophole as classic cars manufactured prior to 1983 are exempt from the charge According to one expert, purchasing a pre-war classic "is to state that you have outwitted the authorities with style and panache."  

Cameras will monitor cars as they drive through the city and suburbs, sending their data to a central database that will automatically determine whether their engines meet strict emissions standards.

In August, the Ulez zone will be extended to include much of the area within the M25.

Since January 2006, petrol cars have been required to have engines that meet the Euro 4 standard, which covers the majority of vehicles.  

Diesel vehicles, on the other hand, must meet the Euro 6 standard, which went into effect in September 2015.  

Most cars and vans that do not meet these standards must be replaced or face a £12 fine. There is a $50 charge for each day they are used. Except for Christmas Day, the fee is valid 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

However, anyone entering the Ulez zone shortly before midnight and leaving a few minutes after the clock strikes 12 will be charged an extra £12. 50  

There are concerns that there will not be enough Ulez compliant vans on the market to meet potential demand, forcing tradespeople to incur additional costs or lose work.   

Petrol vehicles that do not meet Euro 4 standards and diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 6 standards will be charged £12. The Ulez zone costs $50 per day.

Fuzz Townshend, a master mechanic who appears on the National Geographic channel's popular Car SOS, in which classic cars are restored for deserving people nominated by friends and family, has his own method of avoiding the charge.  

In an interview with MailOnline, the Pop Will Eat Itself drummer said, 'Perhaps there has never been a better time to welcome a prewar car into your life.'

'At 84-plus years old, Austin Sevens are cheap to run, almost completely carbon-neutral in terms of carbon footprint, and simple to maintain - Austin Sevens were designed to be home serviced - and small enough to fit into postage stamp-sized parking spaces.' They exude a seductive classlessness.

Master Mechanic Fuzz Townshend of Car SOS recommends that motorists in London consider purchasing a classic Austin Seven, as shown. He said pre-war cars are more than capable of keeping up with 20mph speed limits within the city Driving such a car, he says, "is to declare that you have outwitted the authorities with style and panache."

Getting the inner London M25 ULEZ-compliant car ready for the August ULEZ expansion I'm not going to drive anything else into London.
With nearly 45mpg, it's almost the most efficient car we're lucky enough to own. Plus, it's small, making it easy to park in tight spots.

January 25, 2023 — Simon Browse (@Si_Browse)

'To be seen entering or exiting such a machine is to declare that you have, for the time being, outwitted the authorities with style and panache. They are exempt from ULEZ, as are most pre-1970 classics, including my own 10 Daimler 45 litre engined double decker bus

'Yes, prewar cars are slow, but with 20mph speed limits everywhere, you'll be cruising in style.'

'For longer trips, ruin a rental car rather than driving your own to the ground.'

'There's a long way to go before pedals or oysters are required.' '

In March, the new Car SOS series will return to National Geographic.   

Another way to elude the authorities is to purchase a gas-guzzling 4x4. Range Rover 2litre supercharged V8 with 395bhp and a top speed of 130mph

Despite being nearly 17 years old, this car will be legal to drive in London following the Ulez expansion.

The Range Rover will arrive in town around 12 p.m. 6mpg, but it is still Ulez compliant under the rules.

The car, which cost more than £80,000 when new, is now available for £3,780.

Despite the low price, the car comes with almost every option available.

Cars that are 40 years old or older, i.e. those manufactured before January 1, 1983, are also exempt from Ulez. As a result, this can also provide a relatively low-cost option for staying within the rules while driving around in a head turner, such as an MGB GT, an original Mini Cooper S, or a slew of classic Fords used in the filming of ITV shows The Sweeney or The Professionals.  

Those looking for something with a little more class should consider a Jaguar MkII, as seen in Inspector Morse.  

However, for those who must abandon their economical diesel vehicle to avoid the charge but are unwilling to pay for a new vehicle, there is another option. Purchasing a luxury vehicle before it becomes an unaffordable classic  

One 2006 Range Rover Vogue with a 395bhp 4 cylinder engine. The 2litre supercharged V8 costs £3,780 right now.  

The first owner would have paid more than £80,000 for the car when it was new. However, while the luxury SUV is available for the same price as a supermarket runaround, its parts and servicing costs remain high.  

Furthermore, for someone accustomed to 50-60mpg in a non-compliant diesel vehicle, the 12 6mpg in town may cause palpitations.  

A classic car, such as the pictured MkI Ford Consul GT, would be one way to avoid the Ulez problem.

Mayor Khan faces significant political opposition, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak among those opposed to the expansion.  

In the London Assembly, Nick Rogers AM, the Conservative transport spokesman, emphasized that the tax will disproportionately affect those who can least afford it.  

'Sadiq Khan has not been honest about his ULEZ expansion and the sham consultation he is using to implement it, and it is low-income and vulnerable Londoners who will pay the price,' he told MailOnline. He must listen to Londoners, abandon his expansion plans, and spend the money on policies that reduce air pollution. ' 

According to the AA, even Mr Khan's own figures show that more than one out of every ten cars in the affected area are not compliant.  

Today, I raised the impact of ULEZ expansion on our local hospitals and the many blue light workers in Greater London who will face charges of up to £25 per shift if working nights starting in August. #TheULEZScandal will have a negative impact on so many people, and Sadiq Khan should resign.

— Louie French, Member of Parliament (@louie_french), January 24, 2023

'The AA does not believe those statistics reveal the full picture, and with likely 250,000 affected private cars in Outer London and at least another 100,000 coming in from outside London, the total number of cars potentially priced off the capital's streets will be 350,000-400,000,' said a spokesperson. ' 

According to the AA, diesel car rules are stricter than those for gasoline cars, which has an impact on pensioners who purchased their cars when government policy favored oil burners.  

'Many older diesels belong to retired residents who bought the vehicles as their last car, first because they are more fuel efficient and, second, because they were encouraged to do so by central government to reduce CO2 emissions,' said a spokesperson.

'According to the Mayor, poorer neighborhoods have lower rates of car ownership. That ignores those residents who own cars and rely heavily on them to get to work, juggle multiple jobs, get the kids to school, make basic trips like shopping, and care for elderly and infirm relatives. ' 

We remain vehemently opposed to the Mayor of London's ULEZ expansion proposals. Cllr Ian Edwards, Leader of Hillingdon Council, has issued the following statement:

January 23, 2023 — Hillingdon Council (@Hillingdon)

Richmond Council in west London is one of the local governments attempting to postpone the plan until the economy improves.  

Richmond Councillor Alexander Ehmann, Chair of the Transport and Air Quality Committee 'We hope that the Mayor of London will consider a 6- to 12-month delay and consider extending the scrappage scheme to assist the much larger number of people who rely on their vehicles and simply cannot afford to replace them without a significant transition period and financial support,' said the group. ' 

'We have had meetings with Transport for London, and are currently in contact with other London Councils who oppose the ULEZ expansion to understand specifically how they intend to block or challenge the Mayor's decision,' Havering Council's Ray Morgan told MailOnline. ' 

Merton Council has stated that scrappage allowances should be increased if the scheme proceeds as planned.   

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, is determined to expand the Ulez low-emission zone across the capital, covering the majority of the area inside the M25.

Councillor Ross Garrod, Leader of Merton Council, stated, 'Many of our residents are struggling to make ends meet, and we were one of the first London boroughs to declare a cost of living emergency in July. This highlights the importance of the Mayor of London's announced £110 million scrappage scheme. This is exactly what we asked for in our consultation response if ULEZ was to be expanded, to help drivers, including key workers and people living in underserved areas served by public transportation. ' 

According to Sutton Council, 30% of vehicles registered in the borough are not Ulez compliant.  

Councillor Ruth Dombey stated that her colleagues want the scheme's implementation to be postponed. 'We all understand the importance of clean air and recognize the impact pollution has on the lives of people in our city,' she added. However, we must also recognize the pressures that our residents are under as a result of the rising cost of living. Over 70% of Sutton residents have ULEZ compliant vehicles, which means nearly 30% do not, and the Mayor expects our residents to cough up the cash to change their car or use public transportation that does not exist in a matter of months. ' 

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader of Waltham Forest Council and Cabinet Member for Climate and Air Quality, stated: 'Poor air quality contributed to the deaths of 4,000 Londoners in 2019 alone.' This is a shocking statistic that demonstrates how important it is to reduce car trips in order to improve our air quality, benefiting both our personal health and the local environment.

'Waltham Forest has long argued that the ULEZ should apply to the entire city of London.' We welcome the expansion, as well as the significant improvement in air quality and decrease in deaths that will result. '

While Croydon's Executive Mayor, Jason Perry, described Mr Khan as "out of touch,"   

> Here's a primer on each of them.

'For many Croydonians, their car is the only reliable option to get around given the limited public transportation options compared to inner London,' he told MailOnline. Punishing those who cannot afford to purchase a more modern vehicle is unjust and out of touch, especially at a time when the cost of living is rising.

'Croydon, along with other outer London authorities, is looking into legal options to challenge this flawed expansion.' We will also oppose TfL's efforts to use our lampposts and street furniture for ULEZ signage and cameras. ' 

Harrow Council, along with Hillingdon, Bexley, and Croydon, is also considering an appeal against the decision, though no final decision has been made.  

According to a City Hall spokesperson, the decision to expand the Ulez zone was "not an easy one," but it was made to help protect those suffering from cancer, lung disease, dementia, and asthma.  

'Around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year as a result of toxic air, with the greatest number of deaths attributable to air pollution in London's outer boroughs,' said the spokesperson. When so many lives are at stake, there is no time to waste. When the ULEZ is expanded to cover all of London in August, an estimated five million more Londoners will benefit from cleaner air. ' 

I understand that some people are concerned about the ULEZ expansion, but our polluted air is a public health emergency.

We must do everything possible to save the lives of the thousands of Londoners who die as a result of air pollution-related causes.

January 24, 2023 — Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan)

The mayor's office announced an additional £110 million investment for a scrappage scheme, on top of a previous £61 million investment.  

'The Mayor urges all London councils to prioritize people's health,' the spokesperson added. TfL will work closely and collaboratively with all London boroughs to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is put in place so that we can continue to build a healthier, greener London for all. ' 

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