Drivers caught between ‘rock and hard place’ with new Clean Air Zones

Sadiq Khan refuses to pause ULEZ rollout despite legal challenge

A staggering 74 percent of Britons are unsure if their cars will be liable for daily charges as new Clean Air Zones are introduced around the country.

Less than three in 10 people admitted that they knew how the zones work and which cars would be subject to charges.

Most notably, the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London will expand on August 29 to include all boroughs within the capital.

Another emissions-based charging zone will begin charging in June, with petrol and diesel vehicles banned from Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone.

This will see almost all petrol and diesel vehicles banned from the Scottish city amid plans to reduce emissions rates across the UK.

Data from carwow suggests there are 850,000 non-compliant vehicles in London alone, which is worrying given that most people don’t know if their vehicles are compliant or not.

Since the expansion of ULEZ was announced in November 2022, carwow has seen a 101 percent increase in drivers selling their non-compliant used cars via its Sell My Car service. 

Hugo Griffiths, Consumer Editor and automotive expert at carwow, said: “Drivers are caught between rocks and hard places when it comes to the rise of the Clean Air Zone.

“On the one hand, there’s broad support for improving urban air quality and a general sense that emission zones are the right way to go about this.

“But on the other many people are simply too up against it to think that now is the right time to be expanding or introducing zones.”

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The research also found that people were generally more in favour of Clean Air Zones, with 37 percent supporting them and only 28 percent opposing them.

Despite the optimism around Clean Air Zones, many Britons feel it is the wrong time to expand zones given the cost of living crisis and the struggles drivers are facing.

Seven in 10 people who live in Clean Air Zones who are more likely to be impacted on a daily basis feel that expansions should not happen now.

Many are also concerned about the impact on drivers who need to scrap their old petrol and diesel cars and either buy a compliant fuel car, electric car or make do without a vehicle.

Mr Griffiths added: “The silver lining is that for those on tight budgets, a compliant car can be relatively affordable as long as you’re prepared to compromise: any petrol car from 2006 onwards should make the Clean Air Zone grade. 

“If your car doesn’t meet the new ULEZ zone requirements and you frequently drive into that area, it could be a good idea to consider selling it sooner rather than later, before the expansion deadline. 

“It’s likely that we’ll witness an influx of non-compliant cars entering the used-car market in London and the South East as we approach 29 August.”

It is expected that car prices will be affected with drivers looking to avoid the daily charges at the last minute, especially in areas like London and Glasgow.

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