Is My Bike Affected by London Emissions Charges?

If you live or commute into London, you will undoubtedly have heard about a raft of emission charges, toxicity charges or ultra low emission zone charges being banded about to tackle pollution. With so many charges, consultations and plans a foot it’s tough to get a grip of what the hell is actually coming into affect and how it’ll affect you and your bike.

Pollution is pretty bad in London, but motorcycles should definitely be considered as part of the solution. Bikes rarely, if ever sit still in traffic jams and have much shorter journey times and thus pollute less. Recent TFL consultations even concluded bikes contribute less than 1% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. So read on to learn how to avoid the charges and keep biking.

Congestion Charge
This one has been around for a few years, but all motorcycle are exempt (except some larger 3-wheelers over 2m long). It covers the zone shown in map below. Not new news, but many new charges cover the same area.
congestion-charge-zone-map

T-Charge / ES-Charge

The Emission Surcharge (ES-Charge) or as previously labelled the Toxicity Charge, has just been approved by Sadiq Khan and will come into force on the 23rd October 2017. The key details:

  • Covers congestion charge zone (above)
  • Operates Mon-Fri 7am-6pm
  • £10 a day (in addition to £11.50 congestion charge)
  • Affects any car, van not euro 4 compliant

Thankfully all motorcycles are exempt from this charge.

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

This ULEZ is a future charge that has confirmed plans that do affect motorcycle. Past consultations are now over and a two phased rollout has been confirmed.

Now confirmed

  • From 8th April 2019: charge area covers congestion charge zone (above)
  • From 25th October 2021: charge area extended to cover area within North/South Circulars.
  • Operates 24-7
  • £12.50 per day
  • Affects any non-Euro 3 motorcycle registered before 1st July 2007

Note: electric and historic tax class bikes are exempt from the ULEZ charge. If your bike is Euro 3 compliant and registered before July 2007 you can apparently register it’s exemption with TFL, however it is not yet clear how this will work.

TFL have a vehicle checker tool to allow you to confirm if you vehicle is affected based on it’s registration plate. However, there have been reports of it’s data not being 100% accurate, and having many updates over past months. So, I would not take this as gospel and do keep checking.

Watch this space for news and developments on the ULEZ, as this affects bikers most directly and could potentially many more if things change. Especially those with cheap old commuter hacks.

So there you have it, for the short term you can keep on biking unaffected. But by April 2019 you’ll need a ride newer than 2007. Of course, such a forced upgrade will devalue any pre-2007 significantly.

Author: Arthur

Seasoned London commuter, doing my best to stay rubber side down and never stop moving forward.

13 thoughts on “Is My Bike Affected by London Emissions Charges?”

  1. As always a thinly veiled government scheme to encourage people to depart with more of their hard earned cash and or get into more personal debt in dodgy finance purchase schemes when levels of personal debt are at unsustainable levels already….so every ten years folks get used to it we gotta all go out and buy a new vehicle that has required a serious amount of fossil fuel energy to produce no less…oh and don’t forget we are all still living longer so the health issues don’t stack up either, anyone get the feeling we are being lead by the nose….? It’s all just naked consumerism..dressed up as virtuous claptrap

    1. It might also be an idea if the epidemic of bike thefts from the London area is tackled before forcing people to shell out the hard earned on new bikes. I imagine the bike thieves are sitting at home licking their lips waiting for open season.
      As usual, absolutely no thought put in by Kahn and his group of bean counters. This just goes to show once again that the people that run the place where you live and work have no concept of how the general person has to struggle to afford their daily lives.
      I wonder if Kahn has to pay any of these charges or if he just puts it on his expenses and lets you and me pay for it !

  2. Im wondering how this all fairs as the new ULEZ VRM Checker shows my 2004 bmw r1150rt as exempt as are a lot of other 2002-2005 rt,s , anyone clarify?

    1. I also checked my 2005 Honda cbf600 and the checker says ‘You are not subject to the ULEZ’. Anybody got any suggestions on whether this means I’m safe from stupid charges after April 2019?

      1. .I strongly suggest people fill out the consultation form that’s been made available from 30th November that ends on the 28th of February 2018…

        https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/environment/air-quality-consultation-phase-3b/

        Even by Transport for London own data this will affect those least able to afford it the most, it is a destructive, non progressive piece of legislation that has been rushed through with little in the way of thought behind it even the vehicle database is not fully accurate as many pre 2005 vehicles are indeed compliant yet show as non compliant, to say it is half baked is an understatement…it’s tantamount to theft as it devalues the asset you own, and in London making that asset totally worthless because no one will be able to buy your vehicle and make use of it..this has the effect of trapping you if you have the misfortune of living in London, given the long term intent is to go up to the M25…..so for people living in London with cars parked on the street they will have to scrap it no choice FACT as the proposal makes no allowance for residents. Yes that’s right you want to drive your car out of the city away from it all you’re gonna have to pay £12.50 to do that….each and every day, equivalent to £3k a year…and if you think you are going to be out of the woods by buying a post 2005 Euro4 petrol car think again, if this legislation is passed expect to see EU5/EU6 emission standards despite their negligible differences being used to force a 10 yearly replacement cycle of vehicles…yes that is what gets discussed in these London council meetings any easy method of revenue generation is being considered if they can get away with it..it’s a shocker..people need to wake up..

        On so many levels it is an abomination least we forget the carbon footprint of a car during the manufacturing process being just enormous. It is a fact the unit output in terms of total emissions for a car decreases the further is travels so a car that has done only 100,000 miles will have significantly higher effect on the environment than one that’s done twice the mileage… So for those who thinks changing your car every 10 years is doing the world a favour think again…it’s just not the case.. We should all keep cars on the road longer up to the 200k mark and retrofit them with secondary in-line catalytic converters… Now that would be the environmentally friendly thing to do…. but that’s hardly going to generate VAT tax receipts for the government and boost the car manufacturers…although it would be an easy win to get more cars to be cleaner, which I’m all for……yes diesel is dirty but there are diesel particulate filters and after market exhaust system that can help in the process of cleaning up emissions. All these things could be incorporated within the existing infrastructure of the MOT test… This would go somewhere as to providing a coherent universal national standard rather than town and cities going opting to do their own thing as to the metric they use to ban vehicles. I agree with the sentiments about diesel –it’s fair enough to stop the production of small diesels vehicles for the masses. We need not worry about the ones already out there they will gradually die a natural death as time goes by and flitered fitted and checked through the MOT standards .. But here is the thing we all need diesel for transporting the goods we use daily, and if we foist huge costs on hauliers we shouldn’t be surprised if we find everything costing a lot more…. Yes we all want to live in a clean environment but there are more intelligent ways of doing it other than just using the TAX option all the time…

        The plan has been ill thought out with scant regard to those families who cannot simply go out and buy a newer car, it will force those least able to afford it onto the crowded and expensive London transport system… what we have here in the making is a city where the division between rich and poor is just gets wider and wider, the streets will be empty, with just well to do driving around in their virtuous hybrid vehicles whilst the struggling middle will be stuffed onto even more crowded trains buses etc paying over the odds getting poorer and poorer by the day.. and all overseen by labour mayor who is supposed to be the defender of the poor and dispossessed….and not in the pocket of car manufacturers and London cab drivers… It’s kind of of ironic that the Uber with their hybrid vehicles are being targeted by the mayor, yets he has given London cab drivers an overlong stay of execution with their filthy diesel engines for many years to come, chucking out their filth in the crowded London streets… You literally couldn’t make this up..

        You see folks this is the way government subsidizes business..at the tax payers expense… When it could take the option and much cheaper option for consumers of a program of retrofitting vehicles, yet it instead goes for the most draconian option possible that of total destruction … because they will make more money that way and don’t you forget it…… The same thing happened in 2009 when car sales fell through the floor and the government stepped in to prop up car manufacturers again…. It was a scam then and it is now, the scrappage scheme didn’t see forecourt prices drop in fact forecourt prices were inflated to start off, you got your notional £2,000 for your old vehicle which just knocked the inflated price back down to what it would have been anyway if u waved cash around in the dealership…it was a zero sum gain for the consumer…totally mugged off poor saps…

        It’s sad so many people are led by the nose…..under the virtuous propaganda of “doing the environment a favour” … the government cons the unenlightened to think they are doing the right thing… Make no mistake about it this proposal is nothing short of destructive consumerism – cars are good for 200,000 miles not 100,000 miles and a mere 10 years as they would like you to think just so they can flog you a new car every 10 years….collecting that VAT making you poorer in the process.

        I’ve laboured the point enough now it’s up to you….if the penny hasn’t dropped it never will..please pass this survey on, if the Mayor is not stopped at the North/South circular border he will go further needlessly into the less populated and less polluted areas of outer London right up to the M25 border in 2023..

        We can say bye bye Volkswagen Golf, Audi Quattro, Sierra, Escort, Celica, Supra, Evo and for that matter any motor vehicle from 1981 to 2004 motorbike, van or car it won’t be feasible being an owner in London, sadly that’s where we’re heading – a complete destruction of vehicle heritage through this sinister legislation…

        Please set a date in your diary before the 28th of February 2018 – make your feelings clear to the mayor of London… Next stop the M25 then the whole country just for kicks

        1. Agreed. Older motorcycles have no way of meeting the standards, and it’s basically impossible to find out NOx output for these machines.

          Filled in the survey, with a long comment:
          Emmissions for motorcyles make up less than 5% of total NOx emissions, and should be excluded.

          Usage of motorcycles and other fuel efficient single person vehicles should be promoted, to reduce congestion (and therefore emissions).

          Older motorcycles should be excluded from any charging or excess, as some light motorcycles (especially those 125cc machines) are extremely low emissions,
          but cannot due to their date of manufacture conform to Euro 3/Euro 4 standards.

          This means that an otherwise extremely efficient vehicle (example: 1997 Honda CG125, over 90 MPG) is completely uneconomical to run for commuting
          purposes to central London.

          Penalising owners of light motorcycles that are are otherwise efficient is unfair.

          1. Nice one mate. Tell as many people as you can as TFL have delibrately kept this one quiet to skew the results…it’s an absolute disgrace in a modern democracy.

        1. I seen many reports of the vehicle checker giving back all kinds of strange results, older bikers with carbs as exempt and newer as not! I wouldn’t treat the results as correct.

  3. The consultation to widen the emission zone to the North and South Circular is here so better stick it to the Mayor before he gets away with extending it to the M25 ….. worst of all there will be no exemption for residents that’s right… scrap your vehicle…active destructive forced consumerism is a phrase that springs to mind.

    Given the 100,000 of people this will affect a class compensation action should be taken against city hall for all those people left out of pocket.

    Pretty much what we are seeing here is an erasure of vehicle history from about 1981 to 2004 due to this draconian law… no more Audi Quattros, Serria Cosworths, VW Golfs, Toyota Celicas and Supras, and Suburas, Evo…CBR600F, GSXRs etc like em or loath them they are an important part of history and to active legalise an erasure like this is sinister as we have seen tried by various evil historical figures……

    There is scant reference to retro fitting vehicles (because they want you to pay VAT on new vehicles to keep the money rolling into the state coffers) The vehicle checker database doesn’t take account of early adopter EU3/4 standards and is simply not fit for purpose…the whole thing is a half baked and a vanity project for a mayor who is trying to push this through before he gets kicked out of office…as for European pollution laws what relevance are they for a country that won’t have any obligations to fufill in a year or so…

    So I am calling on people to not be apathetic and to make your voice heard..you have 3 months to do so as the consultantion ends 28th February 2018

    https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/environment/air-quality-consultation-phase-3b/

  4. apparently if you have carbs rather than fuel injection, your bike can not comply.. I live in very central London and have a 2002 Suzuki SV650S that I have owned since 2004 and it has covered just 12,500 miles and never been thrashed as I am an older biker… yet I am expected to bin this beatiful reliable CandyApple blue full fairing classic, and spend another £5000 – £8000 on a new bike, at the age of 62 !! How crazy is that??? No idea what I can get for the bike if I sell it…

  5. Any update on this? Any petitions or protests we can do?
    I only found out about this recently and living in zone 2 am fuming that I need to find 4-5k from somewhere just to get to work.

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