ULEZ/congestion charging - changing cars, or maybe not!

Our cars are both on contract hire agreements. Both are diesel VWs.

We’ve extended the agreements for as long as possible largely due to low mileage during the pandemic and it was simpler than handing them back and getting something else!

Mrs AC’s car is due to be returned in around 5 weeks, and she does need one for work. Contrary to the original advice we are informed we can buy or finance the car’s purchase via British Car Auctions which may or may not be a good option. We can’t extend the contract hire period further unfortunately.

Electric vehicles are a non-starter in terms of practicality for us currently.

Local city council is likely to implement congestion charges and ULEZ charges in a few years.

When I went to Sheffield recently the car was exempt from ULEZ fortunately being a non-business vehicle and modern enough.

Being somewhat unfamiliar with both congestion charges and ULEZ I’m wondering if ULEZ in particular might be a shifting goalpost - the vehicles may be compliant enough currently, but we might regret buying the current vehicles should newer ICE vehicles be ‘greener’ and ULEZ thresholds tighten.

So would be be better off just replacing the old for new ICE or maybe hybrid vehicles? I think I’d now opt for petrol rather than diesel if we did that.

There are lots of uncertainties with all these green policies and despite the intended benefits vehicles are a pretty hefty expense for families and it would probably be easy to make the wrong choice.

Apart form the lack of practical charging infrastructure locally, I’ve also seen recent articles where there are concerns that due to the 30% increased weight of EVs from heavy batteries compared to ICE vehicles, there’s a danger that multi-storey car parks and bridges may not be designed to handle the additional average weight and could collapse!

1 Like

LOL. Pun intended?

I’d expect so.
If it’s not raking in enough money
a) increase the area covered
b) increase the prices for non-ULEZ vehicles
c) remove older Euro x from the exemption

1 Like

Pun, yes partially.

As mentioned I just don’t know enough about the ULEZ charging criteria and if that changes a currently exempt vehicle might not be in a few years - what a gamble? If they don’t ok, if they do it may be harder to sell that older vehicle as ULEZ adopting areas expand.

Up in Manchester we pushed back against it and it’s now currently :wink: “under review”.
Sadly they haven’t replanted the hundreds of trees that were cut down to make way for the signs and cameras. :roll_eyes::angry:


Nothing but a money making exercise disguised as eco-friendly in my view, all it does is make people cough up the fee or take a longer journey with higher emissions/distance travelled overall.


I guess the intention of these zones in part is to encourage usage of public transport in these areas. Maybe that is the change you could make?


1 Like

Unfortunately this is not really practical overall due to working at different non immediately local sites at different times of the week and lack of accessible transport to some of these, more the case for Mrs AC than me as she has to go through the town centre to reach her base. I try to work from home where possible to reduce my commuting, but there are increasing pressures to be on-site even when you don’t actually need to be. Not impossible to reach my main base 10 miles away by bus but the journey (I’ve tried) is not that pleasant and has so many stops en route that it takes 3-4x as long as the car excluding a good walk to the bus stop. If it was a case of commuting a few miles by bus into the city centre it would be different as there are regular nearby services.

1 Like

Manchester should spend the money on their road surfaces. I can’t remember when I last saw such shitty roads (driving from south to Portland St., and back).


Potholes, poor/confusing road changes and rubbish everywhere seem to be the norm these days.


I’m currently Euro6 compliant for my diesel daily, which is OK for London’s ULEZ. I have a petrol car which is Euro 4 (?) and is also compliant.

As I understand it, there is a Euro 7 standard for diesels that manufacturers are likely to give up on, focusing instead on EVs or PHEVs.

I suppose the risk then is at some point it is decided that Euro 6 isn’t acceptable any more for diesel or Euro 4 (?) for petrol.

We have another car that is Euro 5 and diesel that we no longer take near London. It is OK out here in the sticks but I imagine other cities will make their current ULEZ criteria/boundaries the same as London’s and at that point we might rethink keeping it.


We have a Euro 1 petrol and Euro 4 Diesel. The others are not Euro anything, the Granada is ULEZ exempt.

Some people will have had 50 cars in the time I have owned my Granada. And 40 of those are likely to have been scrapped by now mostly down to ‘uneconomic repair’ situations.

Bin and buy new is the way forwards it seems.


I probably need to look up what these Euro categories are as I have no idea.

We have a 20 year old VW Polo which is SORN’d on a drive 20 miles away and has been there for a few years.

It was fine for the 20 mile round trip to work, but a bit scratched and had two slow punctures.

I was planning to try to resurrect it, but an iffy rear door seal has allowed moisture in and leather/furnishings developed some moldiness. I was wondering if a professional valet service could remedy that.

It still jump started with very old petrol in it last year, had to reset the power steering, but the battery wouldn’t hold a charge.

We were probably planning on availing ourselves of the scrappage schemes at some point but left it too late. Wondering now how much it might take to scrape through an MOT - I hate getting rid of things that sort of work - I undoubtedly have a hoarder gene.

1 Like

There is a government website where you can submit your vehicle’s registration number and it’ll tell you whether you are/will be liable for ULEZ charges. Covers the major cities in England (not sure about other countries). Amusingly our 18 y.o. Audi TT & 20 y.o Audi A6 are exempt. Both are petrol driven.

1 Like

I was never really a ‘car person’ in terms of expenditure and had other hobbies which were pretty expensive. Consequently I tended to keep cars until they were on their last legs. Maybe if I was travelling hundreds of miles a week I’d have felt differently, but so long as it went from A to B I was fairly happy.

Bought a lovely Golf in 2006 which got written off by an upturned manhole cover on an unlit country road some years ago - it was on a sharp bend and I was going fairly slowly - it seemed like a crumpled ‘brown object’ but that was rust. I actually thought it was a discarded brown paper bag but steered so it passed fairly centrally between the wheels. It caused the car to vault into the air, ripped out the oil sump and fractured the engine block. Some locals said it had been problematic for years. Went back the next day and it was still sticking up - phoned the policed saying it was a danger and they had no interest at all. The metal cover was probably little larger than a sheet of foolscap paper not one of the big round ones. Insurance company couldn’t (be bothered?) to try to identify who was responsible for it so it ended up as a fault claim.

I think I’d still have the vehicle if it wasn’t for that.

Yes, I used that when I was in Sheffield and got twitched by the ‘ULEZ in operation’ signs which you probably only saw once you’d entered the zone! The signage was distracting and it would have been nice if it mentioned it only applied to commercial vehicles!

Did you have to pay? Or was it simply a warning sign?

No, the vehicle was exempt anyway (Googled in the hotel), but the charge was only in place for commercial/business vehicles if they weren’t exempt.

It just raised my awareness of ULEZ which I’ve never encountered before.

Hence my concern that if we buy the lease vehicles and the acceptable emission targets change it could be a bad move - really tricky to know, especially as details of planned local congestion/ULEZ charging/exemptions are scanty at best.

It’s all getting a bit crazy along with ASHPs which may not be great for old houses like mine.

Must admit I was tickled by the news that the Archbishop of Canterbury had a speeding fine - 25mph in a 20 mph zone. I was hoping for something more cavalier!

Seems that they are “going after” diesel engines.

Amusingly, among the A6’s windscreen stickers for “free parking & loos for the over fifties” (National Truss, English Heritage, etc) is one for the ULEZ in Lyon (you know that city, cross the Channel, go south from Paris for a few hundred….). Had to buy that one from the Lyon city website…again, just put in the UK (!) registration plate and it found out the details…the joys of EU joined-up systems….cost a couple of euros!

1 Like

National Truss :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: (That must have been intentional!)