With just a few days until London's Ultra-Low Emission Zone comes into force, confusion still reigns
- Almost 90% of London motorists unclear about ULEZ says Auto Trader
- Thousands of bamboozled drivers face fines of £80 or more
- 19 cities set to introduce Clean Air Zones by 2021
- Motorists in affected areas planning changes, including moving home
Barely one in ten London motorists is clear about which vehicles will be affected by the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which comes into effect on 8 April. That’s according to new research among 802 London car owners by Auto Trader, the UK’s largest marketplace for new and used cars. (1)
Only 11% of respondents knew for sure that diesel cars registered before 2015 would have to pay the new charge, while only 16% were certain that petrol cars over 14 years old would also have to pay.
Clean Air Zones are being considered by eighteen other local authorities, including Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Glasgow. The plans vary from location to location but most involve charges for the most polluting vehicles. (2)
Almost one third of London motorists (31%) wrongly believe ALL vehicles will have pay the ULEZ charge while a similar proportion wrongly believe that any vehicle registered in the last ten years will be exempt.
Whilst there is confusion, the imminent introduction of new charges is having an impact on motorist behaviour. 17% of drivers living in Clean Air Zones say they are going to buy an electric or hybrid car as a direct response, while a further 17% say they will drive less often. 14% say they will switch to public transport. Among the more extreme countermeasures, 4% say they plan to move to a new house. (3)
Interest in electric and hybrid vehicles is increasing sharply among London motorists. In the 12 months to March 2019, searches for these Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) on the Auto Trader website shot up by 81 per cent compared with the previous 12 months. Diesel searches tanked by one third while petrol searches increased by 54 per cent.
It is estimated that between 2.4 million and 2.5 million cars, vans, motorbikes, lorries, buses and coaches will have to pay the daily charge, which is £12.50 for most vehicles. (3)
“With just days to go until ULEZ comes into effect the only thing that is clear is that confusion reigns among London’s 2.6 million car owners,” said Ian Plummer Director of Auto Trader. “Thousands of bamboozled drivers face fines of £80 or more in the first few months.”
TfL has trumpeted a major awareness campaign to ensure drivers are prepared for the introduction of ULEZ. It claims to be contacting more than 2.5 million Congestion Charge users whose vehicles do not meet the ULEZ standard. It also says it is contacting other drivers in central London whose vehicles are not ULEZ-compliant and that its online compliance checker has had 1.5 million visits.
“We support the introduction of ULEZ and its expansion in 2021, but it’s critical that more is done to ensure motorists are properly informed,” said Ian Plummer.
According to Auto Trader’s research, uncertainty about the Government’s policy on emissions and fuel types is causing motorists to delay buying a new car. More than 53% of London drivers said they may delay buying a new vehicle until there is greater clarity on incentives and duties.
“If the intention is to create a joined up policy across national and local government designed to usher in a new era of clean, green vehicles, we’ve got a long way to go,” said Ian Plummer
For more information etc
- Research conducted for Auto Trader by Research Now SSI in February 2019 among 802 London motorists
- Cities planning to introduce Clean Air Zones:
- Bath & North East Somerset
- Research conducted for Auto Trader by Research Now SSI in January 2019 among 1757 motorists UK wide