London drivers dodge £12.50 daily ULEZ fee by buying classic cars

The vehicle cover provider Heritage Classic Car Insurance has shared how a growing number of motorists in London are dodging Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charges by buying older cars.

Whilst owners of petrol cars made before 2005 and diesels built before 2015 are typically charged £12.50 for each day they drive in the capital, vehicles aged over 40 years old are exempt from paying.

Mr Williams, a Heritage Insurance customer, noted that he was able to avoid ULEZ fees by leaving his modern family car behind and driving to London in a 1960s Morris Minor.

He explained: “I wanted to visit two friends last month, they live on the border of Essex, London. To go there in my 10-year-old car would have incurred charges, though it produced so little pollution – the annual road tax is just £20!

“So, we travelled there in our 1968 Morris Minor van, which meant we could escape charges.”

According to guidance on the Government’s website, any car that is over 40 years old is considered as a ‘historic vehicle’ entitling the driver to a number of benefits.

In addition to being exempt from the ULEZ charge, classic car owners also do not need to pay for their road tax.

Finally, these vehicles are also not required to undergo an MOT test each year, however the Government states that owners must make sure they are in a roadworthy condition to prevent accidents.

Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director at Heritage Car Insurance also noted that, whilst modern cars often fall in value drastically, classic models tend to hold their value or, in some cases, increase.

He added: “As the ULEZ measures continue to reshape the automotive landscape, the classic car market is undergoing a transformation. The expanded ULEZ zone poses a significant financial hurdle for owners of non-compliant vehicles.

“In light of these developments, car enthusiasts should perhaps consider investing in older classic cars that meet emissions standards and qualify for historic car status. These vehicles not only offer the enjoyment of classic motoring but also the potential for appreciation in value.”

The move to classic cars comes as more London residents are hitting out at ULEZ restrictions, by taking action against the cameras that check vehicle number plates.

Some anti-ULEZ protesters have begun fitting bat boxes to the front of cameras, which legally cannot be removed whilst the nocturnal animal is nesting inside.

According to the Metropolitan Police, there were 767 reports of ULEZ cameras being damaged and a further 220 cases of stolen cameras between April and November 2024.

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