Diesel car drivers in London are in for a ride with everything that’s in store for them towards the tail-end of 2021.
Tax surges, high parking fees and emission surcharges may all sound excessive, but these measures are meant to aid the economy and minimize the damage that diesel causes on the environment.
Diesel cars are more economic in terms of fuel efficiency, but they emit the environmentally harmful nitrogen oxide gas (NOx). As such, for many, buying an electric car is safer and more practical as such vehicles and some hydrogen-powered models are exempt from car tax.
There was a time when diesel cars were regarded as environmentally safe since they supposedly emitted less carbon dioxide. The Volkswagen Dieselgate emission scandal, however, broke the trust of consumers when the car manufacturer was found to have cheated on the emission tests by using software that masks the right amount of emission that each vehicle produced. This meant laboratory findings may indicate that the vehicle passed the test, but in reality, it emitted illegal levels of nitric oxide.
Although claims have already been passed for the said diesel emission scandal, the fiasco continues to plague the automobile industry—especially since some respected manufacturers and companies were later found to have done similar practices.
The tax increase and surcharges that are expected to take effect by October this year mainly focus on drivers with older diesel cars. These are just the first in a series of changes that will be implemented throughout the country.
Below are some of the changes, most of which may have been created as consequences of the years-old Dieselgate claim.
Diesel car charges
One of the expected changes this year will address the harmfulness of the NOx gas from diesel cars. Described as the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), it will be in effect by October.
As part of the ULEZ expansion, the daily fee for driving around London will be increased, with the hopes of discouraging diesel car owners to loiter or frequent the place—in addition to contributing to the economy. While the first section of the Ultra Low Emission Zone was launched in the first half of 2019, the 2021 ULEZ will cover the other parts of the city, particularly the Inner London area encompassing the North and South Circular roads.
A fee of £12.50 is collected from owners of non-Euro 6 cars and vans who enter the ULEZ. In addition to this, the Congestion Charge still applies so one could easily end up paying two charges per day when driving around the capital in an old-model diesel vehicle.
The amount of tax that one pays depends on several factors: date registered as a brand new car, its price when it was first bought, the fuel it uses, and its CO2 emissions.
Another change that is most probably a result of the emissions scandal is the increase in parking fees.
The Westminster Council agreed to a 50% increase in on-street parking fees for owners of diesel cars sold before 2015. Vehicle owners are to pay the fee regardless of whether the car meets the emission standards or not. A trial period was implemented in 2020, with petrol car owners and drivers paying a per-hour-fee of more or less £4.90. Owners of affected diesel cars, meanwhile, paid over £7 per hour.
After the trial, parking fees for diesel drivers were significantly raised in other boroughs.
Vehicles are identified after their drivers enter their registration number when they pay for the fee through a machine or their smartphones.
Proceeds of the fees collected will partly fund the Air Wardens, the team that goes around reminding motorists to switch off their engines when on full stop.
Clear air zones
The Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, or Defra, revealed in a report that owners of older diesel cars driving to and within city centres will have to deal with multiple clean air zones towards the end of the year. With many areas unable to adhere to the required air quality limits, over one dozen of these zones are expected to implement charges on the affected diesel car owners.
These clean air zones are part of the efforts of curbing pollution in Britain, and it is said to be most effective in doing so. Stickers will be provided for cars—both old and new models, and these will help identify which ones are to be charged once inside the clean air zones.
East London fines
In East London, only cars with CO2 emissions lower than 75g/km are allowed to drive around some of its streets, including the Old Street portion. Vehicles plying the streets are expected to be Ultra Low Emission or ULEV-classified. Vehicles that do not belong to the said category will pay a fine of £130.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, an emission charge is also expected from the Heathrow Airport authorities. There are no details yet, but as the goal is to reduce air pollution, older diesel car models and some petrol vehicles will most probably be affected.
If you are looking for emission compensation experts, emissions.co.uk has all the details and information you need. They will help you better understand the changes indicated above and assist you if you still haven’t filed for your diesel emission claim yet.