Many Londoners have blasted the new low emissions rules on some of the city’s roads, but there are a number of exemptions and discounts available to help you avoid paying
The new ULEZ rules have been controversial, but data shows it has already had a hugely positive effect on the overall health of people in central London. Still, there are a number of ways drivers of certain vehicles can get around the fee.
Classic cars are completely exempt, for instance, as are the city’s black cabs (under certain conditions). Certain types of farm vehicle qualify, as do builders driving “certain types of mobile crane”, or “non-road going vehicles which are allowed to drive on the highway [for example, excavators]”.
‘Showman’s vehicles’ are also exempt, TfL confirmed. The conditions are that the vehicle has to be either used in a performance, used to carry equipment, or provide the performance, used for displaying animals, or have modifications which means emission abatement equipment cannot be fitted.
According to MyLondon, all London-licensed taxis are exempt, though older more polluting taxis are subject to a 12-year age limit with cleaner ones being extended to 15 years. All newly licensed taxis must be zero emission capable (ZEC) vehicles.
When it comes to classic cars, or what TfL calls ‘historic vehicles’, there are two categories – all vehicles built before January 1, 1973 and those more than 40 years old that have been successfully registered with the DVLA for a historic vehicle tax class.
The authority said that if your vehicle meets either of the above criteria but is registered outside the UK, it is also exempt but it must be registered with TfL online. As to the others, those that are disabled whose vehicle is registered with the DVLA as having ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicle’ tax class will get a grace period of no charges until October 24, 2027.
Motors with tax classes registered abroad will have to register with TfL to benefit, however. Wheelchair-accessible vehicles with permanent ramps, hoists, swivel seats, or accelerator rings will also have a grace period until October 25, 2027.
Those claiming certain disability benefits will also benefit from a grace period until 25 October 25, 2027, and these benefits include:
- Standard or enhanced mobility rate of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Higher mobility rate of Disability Living Allowance
- Higher mobility rate of Child Disability Payment
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Standard or enhanced rate of Adult Disability Payment (ADP)
Other factors that would mean you qualify include: if you are a parent or guardian of a child under the age of three with a medical condition that means the child always needs to be accompanied by bulky medical equipment; are a parent or guardian of a child under the age of three with a medical condition that means the child always needs to be near a vehicle in case they need emergency medical treatment; are registered blind or have a terminal illness, which means you cannot walk or find walking very difficult.
There are a few other discounts and exemptions available, such as with military vehicles, while specialist agricultural vehicles are also exempt. NHS patients who are too ill to travel on public transport can claim back ULEZ payments from the hospital they attend.
And a short period of exemption is available to small businesses (under 50 employees), micro-businesses (up to 10 employees), charities, and sole traders with a registered address in one of the 32 London boroughs or the City of London, who have either ordered a new light van or minibus that meets the ULEZ emissions standards or are having their light van or minibus, that does not meet the ULEZ emissions standards, retrofitted by a Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) approved fitter to meet the ULEZ emissions standards.