The transport for the new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London will be in force around the clock on April 8 of this year under the applicable Congestion Charge (CC) or T-Zone. Motorcycles do not need to be overloaded, but most vehicles, including all powered two-wheelers, must meet ULEZ emission standards or charge a daily fee of £ 12.50. Or, worse, a fine of £ 160 (originally £ 130), which is reduced to £ 80 (originally £ 65) if paid within fourteen days. This is true even if TfL's own data shows that motorcycles and scooters are responsible for less than 1% of London's traffic pollution.

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What makes a scooter, a scooter, a motorcycle, a trike or a quad ULEZ compliant? If your machine complies with Euro3 emission standards – mandatory for all newly sold machines as of July 1st, 2007 – you will not be charged for any ULEZ fees, and you will not qualify for the Historical Vehicles tax code even if you are 40 years old old or older are more. If you live in the current CC Zone, there is an "expiration" period in which you will not be liable for the ULEZ charge until October 24, 2021, unless your bike is ULEZ compliant.

To check the compliance of your device, TfL has a handy online registration examiner that lets you know quickly whether or not you are getting a ULEZ fee. But not in all cases.

The TfL website states: "The ULEZ is enforced on the basis of the declared emissions of the vehicle and not of the age. In general, however, these are Euro3 engines registered with the DVLA after July 2007. "Wheelers are carbon monoxide (CO) 2.00 g / km, hydrocarbons (HC) 0.80 g / km (≥ 150 cc) or 0.30 g / km (<150 cc) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) 0.15 g / km.

With the words "in general" indicating that things were less than crystal clear, the owners of machines before Euro3 (including this author) entered their registration numbers into the checker last year to find that they were actually compliant , This may be due to the fact that motorcycles were already Euro3 compliant in terms of emissions before July 2007.

Then, late last year and early this year, the same owners re-entered the same numbers in the check and found that their bikes were no longer ULEZ-compliant. Unannounced, and for reasons known only to TfL, the goalposts had shifted, though TfL offered a statement in a letter sent in June 2018 stating, "We are in the process of collecting vehicle compliance data and our database regularly update between now and with the introduction of ULEZ on April 8, 2019 ".

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Another letter from TfL, sent in early January this year (see below), does not address the problem of modified goalposts, but proves that only the NOx value applies to ULEZ and not to the CO or HC values ,

It is frustrating for TfL that it can not enforce full compliance with Euro 3 emissions for ULEZ, as NOx alone was part of an EU directive that later became legally binding in the United Kingdom. A letter dated 10 November 2017 from London Mayor Sadiq Khan states: "The ULEZ standards must be set for a legally recognized and approved engine test cycle, for example for engines that must meet European emission standards."

Without knowing the NOx levels of all models before Euro3, it is probable that a significant number of two-wheelers before Euro3, including large BMWs and Harley-Davidsons, will be below 0.15 g / km NOx and therefore despite the recent results of the registration test ULEZ compliant.

So, if you intend to use your machine to enter the ULEZ zone before July 2007 / Euro3 without spending GBP 12.50 per day, do the following:

  1. Check your registration number again with the TfL Online Checker, even if you have checked this before. If it is not subject to ULEZ, no further action is required (however, it would be advisable to re-examine it before 8 April).
  2. If this appears as a charge, check your V5C for a NOx value, if indicated, and submit a copy to TfL (see next letter).
  3. If an NOx number is not specified in your V5C, you will need a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) and should follow the instructions in TfL's letter.

Letter from TfL

At the present time, manufacturers are dealing with emission / CoC requirements in different ways, while others are still formulating their approach. Some provide owners CoCs for free (eg, https://wiki.mag-uk.org/images/6/60/Honda_form.pdf), while others charge a substantial management fee (up to £ 180), though for Daily commuters would soon get back the varying fees, and a CoC is probably much cheaper than replacing your machine with a new one. It is best to contact the manufacturer's customer service and ask.

If, for some reason, these steps do not apply to your bike, you may opt to obtain individual motorcycle motor vehicle approval, although this process is more complicated. So you should trust in advance that your machine is compliant.

It would be much easier for all concerned if the results of the TfL registration test were based solely on the NOx figure, but it could be that even the DVLA database does not contain emissions information for all machines before Euro3 / July 2007 that are younger than 40 years are.

The procedure could also be significantly simplified if, after the exception of one model, all models of similar age could also be exempted. If manufacturers were to provide TfL with the NOx levels of all relevant models, the corresponding values ​​could be displayed as ULEZ-excluded, as they may have been previously. As of today, all inquiries are handled individually by TfL.

Looking ahead, and subject to the re-election of London Mayor Sadiq Khan in May 2020, ULEZ is scheduled to cover 170 square kilometers on the streets of the North and South Circles on 20 October 2021, which will affect countless other owners and their vehicles be.

In the meantime, the Motorcycle Action Group is in the case talking to manufacturers about providing emissions data and asking TfL for more clarity to achieve the ultimate goal that all powered two-wheelers are ULEZ-free, as MAG already does with the Clean Air Zone in Birmingham has reached maturity in January 2020.