New Ultra Low Emissions Parking Fees Impact UK

People who drive older vehicles - specifically petrol and diesel models - are being charged a lot more to park thanks to Ultra Low Emissions Parking (ULEP) costs which heavily impact these models.

The purpose of the move is to try and improve the overall air quality, but it does mean that anyone who has an older vehicle is getting slammed with these fees and they’re probably feeling the pinch.

Keeping Up With London

The city of London has been using fees like this for a long time, so it isn’t anything new for the UK in that sense.

The system works by charging different amounts depending on what kind of vehicle you have - electric, hybrid and hydrogen-based vehicles have to pay £5 per hour for parking, which is the lowest amount. The highest amount is for the older vehicles, which are charged £10 an hour, and any vehicles registered before 2005 (for petrol) and 2015 (for diesel) pay £7.50.

The actual rates can vary from one instance to the next, but it’s a good way to incentivise people to make the move towards lower emission vehicles.

Expert Opinions

As the new rules continue to come into force, they remain a decisive topic for people across the country. Some people see this as a good start point for a more eco-friendly and healthy future, but others feel like it is an unfair crackdown on people who have a lack of access to money for a newer - and expensive - vehicle.

Understandably, the move has attracted the opinions of many within the motoring industry. RingGo, for example, provides support for this type of parking scheme for councils in the London area. Their managing director had this to say.

“An Emissions Based Parking scheme enables an authority to levy a surcharge on the most polluting vehicles when they pay for parking – with emission reduction as a result.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the RAC had a different stance:

“We think the principle of charging drivers to park based on their vehicle’s carbon dioxide emissions is inherently unfair.

While it’s generally the case that the newer the vehicle, the cleaner the engine, we know that drivers are holding onto their vehicles for longer – not least because of the cost-of-living crisis and high cost of acquiring a replacement vehicle.

Charging drivers of more polluting vehicles more, even though the vehicle is parked and emitting nothing, therefore penalises those very same drivers who have the least financial means to upgrade to another vehicle. Conversely, those who can afford to switch to an electric vehicle pay far less.

We’d like to see the national government provide a steer on whether councils should be allowed to set parking charges based on CO2 emissions. The fact local authorities are creating vastly different tariffs based on how they decide to interpret emissions criteria is also a serious concern.

Without government intervention, there’s a risk we’ll quickly see a hotchpotch of complicated, confusing and punitive parking schemes springing up. These policies smack of councils simply trying to extract as much revenue as possible from drivers.”