The new Ultra-Low Emission Zone and the classic car enthusiast

May 23rd 2019

What does the new Ultra-Low Emission Zone mean for the classic car enthusiasts

Owning a classic car in London has always had its hurdles; from locating storage away from prying eyes and inquisitive urban foxes to the unavoidable congestion charge. With the introduction of the new Ultra-Low Emission Zone on April 8th 2019, many classic car owners have been wondering if this is another nail in the coffin of the classic in the city. The new Ultra-Low Emission Zone will run within the same areas as the congestion zone initially, with an expansion due on October 25th 2021 which will see the zone expand as far as the north and south circular. Unlike the congestion charge, which mercifully stops pre- 7 am and post-6 pm weekdays and entirely at weekends, the new ULEZ shall run 24/7, 365 days a year.

What’s more, the costs are one pound higher and not exclusive, so should you venture in with an ineligible vehicle and during congestion zone hours you will be charged for both at the princely sum of £24.

This new zone has been created to reduce emissions within London and as such a vehicle’s eligibility is based on its emissions. As bleak as this may sound, for classic car owners this new zone doesn’t presently offer a threat. Whether an acknowledgement of the historical and cultural value added having these classic machines in the city or a reflection on the considered and often limited use these vehicles get, cars manufactured before 1979 are exempt from this charge.

If there was ever a reason to celebrate your classic machine then a triumphant inner city jaunt, allowing passersby a break from the norm of unimaginative modern machines, then this new zone is it. Unfortunately for those with more modern classics, the news is not so good, though not entirely doom and gloom as this exemption is based on tax class – once your car reaches historic status on the 40-year rolling rule and is taxed as historic you too are in the clear.

A win for the classic car owner, then, and the streets of London remain a perfect home for special machines. After all, in a period of national crisis, a British classic on the streets of London remains a much needed proud distraction…

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