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Many motorbikes could be exempt from London emission charge

Published: 03 January 2019

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, appears to be listening to the concerns of bikers over London’s incoming Ultra Low Emission Zone.

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The ULEZ will levy a £12.50 per day charge on any non-Euro3 certified (pre-2007) bikes that enter the congestion charging zone from April this year.

This has been questioned repeatedly over concerns that bikes should be treated differently from cars. The Motorcycle Action Group highlighted this recently in a meeting with the Mayor, who agreed to look further into the matter. He also reiterated his desire to see motorcycles allowed to use all bus lanes across the capital.

While the ULEZ will only cover the congestion zone, by April it will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will expand to the North and South circulars by 2021. The scheme is being looked at as a pilot for similar zones in cities throughout the UK.

What will be music to many owners’ ears though is that it’s possible to get an exemption for certain pre-2007 bikes by contacting Transport for London (TfL).

One of the Euro3 standards was Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions, which was capped at 0.15 g/km. It is this number that TfL are using to determine whether a vehicle has to pay the charge and many pre-2007 bikes come well under the limit: a 2006 BMW R1200GS, for instance, produces around a quarter of the maximum, while ADAC tests have shown even old Honda VFR800F VTEC models will pass.

Finding out is easy too. The first step is to check if your bike is already exempt by putting your registration number into the TfL ULEZ vehicle checker. If someone else has already proved to TfL that your model meets the emissions standards, then you are already exempt. If not, you’ll need to do a little leg work.

All recent bikes have a Certificate of Conformity, which lists the NOx emissions. It may also be shown on your V5, and if it’s below 0.15 g/km it’s simply a case of sending a copy to TfL, who will then exempt the bike. With huge costs associated with the zone, it’s well worth doing your homework.

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