There was a time when you could jump into any vehicle and drive wherever you wanted without the fear of being fined. Not nowadays. There are speed cameras everywhere, you can’t go through bus lanes at specific times or drive down a certain stretch of road unless you have someone in the passenger seat! Not forgetting the Congestion Charge as well.

Fortunately most of those rules are clearly marked out by the road side and everyone understands them. However, the issue of emission charges still has a number of Britons scratching their heads.

Unless your vehicle meets strict low emission levels you are at risk of being fined £100 PER DAY if you drive through London. But do you know if you are eligible to drive through the capital without being hit in the pocket?

It’s almost a decade now since people were charged for driving heavy polluting vehicles like buses, lorries and coaches in London. In 2012 the law was expanded to cover vans, minibuses, horseboxes, motor-caravans, pick-ups and utility vehicles.

And from April 8, 2019, a new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will come into force which will affect a lot more vehicles, including cars and motorbikes, meaning transport must be a lot more efficient. New Euro 6 vehicles will be exempt from the charges.

However, there is no need to avoid buying a Euro 4 or Euro 5 rated truck as the zone covers only the centre of London and there are ways to meet the standards. Scaffolders and builders could fit an approved filter to their exhausts to reduce their vehicle’s emissions or if you operate a fleet of vehicles you could reorganise it so that only vehicles making the emissions standards are driven within the zone. And of course if you are a local firm it won’t affect you at all!

So will you be able to drive to London without invoking a fine?

You WILL meet the current emissions standards if:

  • Your vehicle was first registered as new ON or AFTER October 1, 2016, or
  • You have received a Low Emission Certificate (LEC) or a Reduced Pollution Certificate (RPC) for fitting an approved full filter or converting to an approved gas engine.

Your vehicle WILL NOT meet the current standards if:

  • It was first registered as new any time BEFORE October 1, 2006, or
  • You currently hold a LEC or an RPC but you have only fitted a partial filter, or
  • You have received a LEC or an RPC for an Eligible Engine (these no longer meet the LEZ standards) or you have received an RPC which has box M ticked (this can be found under the ‘Particular trap fitted or modification type used’ section of the certificate).

Although the UK is currently negotiating its exit from the EU, the emissions standards are unlikely to change. But we can guarantee that the Euro emissions standards are only going to get stricter over the coming years.

To check if your vehicle meets the requirements visit https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone