Loophole means older motorbikes may still qualify for ULEZ exemption
There is a loophole in the ULEZ regulations that will allow some pre-Euro 3 motorcycles to qualify for exemption from charging. Here’s how to do it.
The introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London generally means non-Euro 3 motorcycles face a daily charge of £12.50 to ride in the capital. It comes into force in central London in April 2019 and will be expanded to the North and South Circular ring roads in October 2021.
However, Biker & Bike has been made aware of a loophole in the ULEZ requirements. It came to light after the Motorcycle Action Group met with London Mayor Sadiq Khan and pushed for the concession. Motorcycles that emit lower emissions than the Euro 3 standard can avoid the charges if their owners provide Transport for London (TfL) with proof of the bike’s emissions.
The critical measure is the vehicle’s Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) value, which must be equal to, or less than, 0.15 grams per kilometre. If your vehicle’s emissions are lower than this limit, TfL will exempt your vehicle from paying the charge.
Biker & Bike has approached TfL for confirmation and received the letter we’ve posted at the bottom of this article.
The key points are:
‘Tfl is also aware vehicles manufactured before mandatory dates may also meet the standards. Therefore ULEZ will be enforced based on the declared emissions of the vehicle rather than the age. The vehicle conformity certificate contains the relevant emissions information.
‘…on receipt of evidence of the vehicles Euro standard, we would investigate further and where necessary amend our records to reflect the correct status of your vehicle.
‘In order to investigate compliance status of your vehicle we advise you to provide us with vehicle registration document (V5C) that contains the Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) value and Particulate matter (PM) value (if diesel), we can confirm the compliance status of your vehicle. Please check that the NOx and if applicable the PM value is recorded on the V5c, usually these are detailed in sections V.3 and V.5 respectively.
‘If these values are not recorded on the V5c you will need to provide a copy of the vehicle’s Conformity Certificate which you can obtain from the vehicle manufacturer. Alternatively, you may wish to contact the vehicle manufacturer’s homologation department. They will need to provide you with a letter signed by a named individual from the homologation department which contains the following information (a letter from customer services or a dealer will not be accepted):
– Vehicle registration mark (VRM)
– Vehicle identification number (VIN)
– Euro standard the vehicle was manufactured to – Fuel Type
– Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) value.’
Here’s what to do
If your V5C states the NOx value and it is lower than 0.15 (g/km):
You may already be exempt. First check your registration number with the ULEZ vehicle checker: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone/vrm-checker-ulez.
It may show as not being exempt, but this is because TfL’s database might not have been updated yet. If it is exempt you do not need to do anything else – you won’t be charged.
If the database shows you are not exempt but your V5C (vehicle registration document) states the NOx value is lower than 0.15 (G/km), complete an online enquiry form and upload your proof at tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone.
If the NOx value on your V5C is higher than 0.15 (g/km) you are exceeding the limit required by ULEZ, so you won’t qualify for an exemption.
If your V5C does not state the NOx value:
You will need to contact your bike’s manufacturer and request a Vehicle Conformity Certificate. They may be able to tell you the NOx value over the phone or via email but they may not be set up for a flood of enquiries so give them time to respond. Once you have the certificate and it definitely confirms your NOx value is lower than 0.15 (g/km) you need to complete an online enquiry form and upload your proof at tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone.
If your NOx value is higher than 0.15 (g/km) you are exceeding the limit required by ULEZ, so you won’t qualify for an exemption.
If you cannot get any documentation or your NOx value is close to the limit:
An independent garage, Riverbank Motorcycles in East London, has made a considerable investment to become a recognised tester of NOx emissions for motorcycles – the only one in London. They charge a fee of £175 per test but say the majority of motorcycles they test do pass.
When a motorcycle’s test result is close to the limit Riverbank can often tune the engine so it does become compliant.
You can book a test directly at: https://www.nationalemissionstestcentre.com
Bikes over 40 years old do not have to pay
Remember, if your motorbike is over 40 years old it qualifies for exemption automatically if you have applied for the Historic Vehicle Taxation Class. You should check with DVLA that your vehicle is registered in that class.
It’s worth a try
We don’t know how many bikes this will apply to and it may not be many at all, but it’s worth a try if you can’t afford to either change your bike or pay £12.50 every day.
Good luck, and if you do get an older bike though with this loophole, please let us know at: editorial @ bikerandbike.co.uk (removing the space before the @ symbol).
Our thanks go to the Motorcycle Action Group for fighting for this exemption and to Biker & Bike reader Doug Dickson for highlighting the potential for the loophole. We owe you a brew at The Hut.