Will classic cars be banned from the centre of London?

Are classic vehicles really set to be banned from certain areas of London as of July 2018? AutoClassics investigates the new Low Emission Neighbourhood zones...

Classic cars will be banned from parts of London from July this year – but only at certain times on certain streets, not even entire districts, in two areas of London.

Two Low Emissions Neighbourhood (LEN) zones will operate from 7am to 10am and from 4pm to 7pm, affecting the following streets in Hackney and Islington:

Zone 1

  • Cowper Street
  • Singer Street
  • Tabernacle Street
  • Paul Street
  • Willow Street
  • Blackall Street

Zone 2

  • Rivington Street
  • Charlotte Road

Residents and businesses will have the opportunity to apply for exemptions, but visitors to the LENs will be required to park outside the zones and depend on public transport.

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The Councils for Hackney and Islington were the first to agree terms with London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in his efforts to reduce smog and pollution within London’s city centre.

Plans for London 2019

Further councils are planning similar measures from 2019. These include:

  • City of London – Barbican
  • Greenwich – Greenwich Town Centre
  • Newham and Redbridge – Ilford Garden Junction
  • Westminster – Marylebone

With funding from Khan’s MAQF (London Mayor’s Air Quality Fund), Low Emission Neighbourhoods are aimed at providing cleaner air for London’s residents during rush hours. Some of London’s most polluted streets have been blamed for the rise in deaths caused by lung disease.

‘On our nine proposed streets for the upcoming changes, only ULEV (ultra low emission vehicles) will be allowed through during morning and evening peak times,’ explained a spokesperson for Hackney Council.

‘Those who drive hybrid vehicles or electrics cars will not be affected.’

For clarification, ULEVs are vehicles emitting less than 75g/km of carbon dioxide. For comparison, a 2009 Jaguar XJ 2.7 diesel churns out 214g/km. A 2002 Vauxhall Vectra 3.2 V6 serves up 243g/km. A classic Mini 1.3i breaches the target twice over at 164g/km. A London Taxi claims 222g/km – three times the limit.

A first generation Toyota Prius from 2002 emits 120g/km, so also fails.

This is the latest in a long line of threats that could see petrol classics and more modern diesels banned outright from central parts of the UK capital, and other cities are jumping on the bandwagon.

While the new plan will be the first to lawfully see older vehicles off certain roads, Oxford has lately announced plans to close its streets to historic vehicles. The infamous ZEZ (Zero Emissions Zone) is currently in planning after a successful consultation during 2017.

It’s not all exempt for vehicles over four decades old, either. London’s anti-pollution charges still apply to owners of vehicles registered before 1978. This includes the Congestion Charge.

If you currently drive or visit London with a vehicle registered before 1 January 2006, when Euro-4 standards became mandatory, you should expect to remain liable for the following:

  • ULEZ – Ulta Low Emissions Zone
  • T-Charge – Emissions Surcharge
  • Congestion Charge

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