How to save money while living in a ULEZ area – schemes & grants that could benefit YOU

Dogs on the Streets warns of impact of ULEZ expansion

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The expansion of London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) may have been a victory for reducing car emissions, but for drivers, the additional expense could be cause for concern. On October 25, 2021, the Mayor of London expanded the ULEZ from central London up to, but not including, the North Circular and South Circular roads. This means motorists using cars that do not meet the ULEZ emission standards are required to pay £12.50 per day to drive.

While the aim of the ULEZ expansion is to improve air quality within the capital, the additional expense for owners of older vehicles may make driving almost impossible for some.

However, Alex Kindred, a car insurance expert from Confused.com, told Express.co.uk that there are some ways vehicle owners can save money in the long run.

According to Mr Kindred, there are several schemes set up by the Government to help certain motorists meet emissions standards – particularly if driving is a necessity.

Mr Kindred said: “For those that have no way of avoiding the ULEZ zone, whether it be for work or travel, you may be entitled to a grant from TfL towards a new compliant vehicle.

“Small businesses, charities and those who are disabled or on low incomes can apply for a £2,000 grant if they scrap a non-compliant car and purchase a cleaner vehicle.

“Those scrapping a motorcycle will also be able to apply for a £1,000 payment.”

For cars and motorcycles, the ULEZ “scrappage grant” is available to those who live within the 32 London boroughs and meet certain business, charity, disability or income requirements as set out by TfL.

According to TfL, the vehicle being scrapped “must not meet the ULEZ emissions standards”.

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Under the scheme rules, only cars or motorcycles which are DVLA registered to the applicant, or someone who lives at the same address, and have been owned for more than 12 months before October 23, 2019, can be scrapped.

Eligible cars must also be insured and have up-to-date MOT and road tax.

TfL adds: “The payment can be used to purchase a vehicle which does meet the ULEZ standards.”

Unfortunately, the grants are not available to everyone, which means you may be forced to foot the bill yourself – or accept paying the £12.50 ULEZ daily rate to drive.

Mr Kindred said: “If you are looking to swap to a ULEZ exempt vehicle but can’t quite afford it, you can choose a range of options such as a hire car.

“A Hire Purchase (HP), where you normally put down a deposit and repay the balance in instalments over a loan period or a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) are a good option if you like changing your car every two or three years, allowing you to pay monthly instalments also.

“Or, you can even look at a Personal Leasing (contract hire), which, like renting, you pay a fixed monthly fee over an agreed time.

“Any of these options will allow drivers to budget their money over a period, meaning they won’t need to splash the cash all at once.”

The good news is, however, that the Government does offer a “plug-in grant” for low emission vehicles.

This can be as much as £2,500 and covers cars, motorcycles, mopeds, small vans, large vans, taxis and trucks.

Mr kindred said: “For those that have a vehicle which is lower than a Euro 4 for petrol vehicles or Euro 6 for diesel, you may want to consider investing in a greener vehicle if you enter the ULEZ zone a lot.

“In this case, drivers can choose between a hybrid model or a fully electric model.

“Hybrid vehicles are lower on their emissions than a petrol-only or diesel car, but they do still require some petrol for when the car is travelling at a higher speed and needs the added acceleration.

“And while initial costs can be higher than some new or used vehicles, with the money you will save on fuel, you’ll be making it back up after only a few years.

“Electric vehicles, which are zero-emissions – apart from the electricity itself, of course – have even lower running costs and also have the added benefit of being able to charge at home, meaning long queues at the petrol station are a thing of the past.”

The Government is also offering some vehicle owners a £350 discount on the cost of installing an electric vehicle charger at home through the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme.

Of course, even with the aid of grants, buying a new vehicle is not feasible for everyone.

Mr Kindred said: “If buying a new car isn’t an option for you right now, then public transport will be a cheaper method of transport to avoid fines.

“Although, public transport may not be an option for some people, so carpooling or park and ride may be a better option.”

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