ULEZ cameras targeted: Protesters damage emissions tech as stricter London air zone expands

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Protesters have damaged cameras across London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), following an expansion to include all boroughs of the city on Tuesday, August 29.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed to MCN that they had recorded 288 attacks on the cameras – with images and videos surfacing online showing vigilantes cutting down or defacing the number plate monitoring systems.

Within the Met data, there were approximately 185 reports of cables being damaged, 164 of cameras being stolen and 38 reports of lenses being obscured.

A ULEZ camera vandalised with sticker

“Vandalism on our network is unacceptable and all incidents are reported to the police for investigation,” a Transport for London (TfL) spokesperson told MCN. “Criminal damage to ULEZ cameras puts the perpetrators at risk of prosecution and life-changing injuries, while simultaneously risking the safety of the public. Camera vandalism will not stop ULEZ operating.”

There are now more than 1900 ULEZ cameras in outer London, with around a further 1500 in the centre of the city. TfL say more cameras will be added in outer London where there are gaps.

“We have an extensive camera network which is sufficient to support the effective operation of the scheme,” they continued. “Anyone driving a non-compliant vehicle within the expanded zone will be detected, and we advise everyone to check whether their vehicle is compliant and to consider the various support [such as scrappage schemes] available.”

A ULEZ camera vandalised with paint and a sticker

Despite the widespread damage, the Met say their investigations have led to just two arrests so far. One person has been charged and bailed for trial in June 2024 and the other case was discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The ULEZ scheme charges non-compliant vehicles, usually built prior to the arrival of Euro3 in 2006, £12.50 per day to enter a London borough. Low emission zones are already in force across a number of other UK cities including Birmingham, Oxford, and Bristol.

Elsewhere in London, plans for stricter Zero Emissions Zones (ZEZ) have now been shelved in the city, following an experiment on Beech Street from March 2020 to September 2021. There were plans previously in place to attempt to implement a ZEZ in central London from 2025.

A ULEZ camera stolen

TfL told MCN: “Some small-scale trials of zero or ultra-low emission streets have taken place previously in London, with the support of the Mayor and TfL.

“We have no plans at present to progress the introduction of new zero emission zones.

“We remain focused on delivering plans to support the Mayor’s target of a carbon neutral London by 2030, most recently celebrating the milestone of over 1100 zero emission buses operating in the capital, as well as the landmark ULEZ expansion to all London boroughs. We continue to support boroughs who wish to implement local zero emission zones in their local areas too.”

Hundreds ride against ULEZ: Huge two-wheeled convoy protests against enlarged emissions zone

First published 5 September 2023 by MCN

Ace Café ULEZ protest ride

Almost 2000 riders opposed to the extension of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) took to the streets on Saturday, August 20, riding from one iconic motorcycle venue to another.

An estimated 1700 bikers congregated at the Ace Cafe on the North Circular Road to ride south to Rykas at Box Hill near Dorking during the Ride to Freedom event. The ride was heavily promoted during an anti-ULEZ protest in Trafalgar Square on August 5 organised in part by long-time anti-ULEZ campaigner Phil Elliott.

He told MCN: “From the biker side of things, we’re all getting hit. We’re all getting hit with firstly the ULEZ, some are compliant many are not. It’s just another way to control and slow your enjoyment. So we’re not having it. So what we’ve got at the moment is Ace Cafe, that’s been going since 1938, will be on its knees because of ULEZ, and many other biker venues will be as well.”

ULEZ protestors gather at the Ace Café London

The ride concluded at the Box Hill biker café, and featured speeches by London Mayoral candidate Howard Cox and members of the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG).

Tim Peregrine, of Southern Region MAG said: “MAG has fiercely opposed the ULEZ charge for motorcycles from the day it was first suggested and continued to show their support in opposition on Sunday. Motorcycles help reduce overall emissions by reducing congestion and, for many, are the only economically viable form of transport.

“We heard how the expansion of ULEZ will impact on people’s lives with one example from a night shift worker who leaves home on one day and returns the next.”

ULEZ protestors

The ULEZ area was extended on August 29 to include every London borough and it will now cost any non-compliant motorcycles £12.50 per day to travel through the city.

Elliott added: “As part of the anti-ULEZ campaign team I would like to thank all that attended this event. Great weather and fantastic support resulted in capacity numbers at Rykas.

“All is possible if the motorcycling community at large unites and supports an organisation like MAG because there will be some battles ahead to protect the motorcycling freedoms that we currently have and enjoy now.” 

Riders plan for mass ULEZ protest: Call to join rideout demanding bikes are exempt from charge

First published on 29 August 2023 by Stuart Prestidge

Ace Café London exterior

Motorcyclists are being urged to protest the upcoming expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to all boroughs of London in the only way they know how – by joining forces on a Ride for Freedom from the Ace Cafe to Rykas at Boxhill.

The event was promoted during the recent anti-ULEZ protest in London’s Trafalgar Square with hundreds braving the rain and cold to make their opposition heard, including motorcyclist Phil Elliott, who has been protesting against ULEZ for the past 16 years.

He told MCN: “From the biker side of things, we’re all getting hit. We’re all getting hit with firstly the ULEZ, some are compliant many are not. It’s just another way to control and slow your enjoyment. So we’re not having it. So what we’ve got at the moment is Ace Cafe, that’s been going since 1938, will be on its knees because of ULEZ, and many other biker venues will be as well. 

Anti-ULEZ protestors Nick Arlett and Phil Elliott

“This is where bikers need to come together and say we’ve got to unite. We now need to get some big numbers out there, get down to the likes of Rykas, to put the message out. We must say no to ULEZ and basically let them know they’ve got to listen to us, because enough is enough.”

The ride is also garnering interest from political arenas, with Conservative 2024 London Mayoral candidate Susan Hall and Reform candidate Howard Cox also pledging their support for the Ride for Freedom.

Cox, who also founded the Fair Fuel UK campaign, told MCN: “I work very closely with Motorcycle Action Group, particularly chair Neil Liversidge and Lembit Opik. I’m a massive fan of motorbikes and I think that it’s ridiculous how they’ve been penalised in terms of ULEZ, asking them to pay for probably being the least polluting vehicles on the planet. 

ULEZ Protestors in Trafalgar Square

“So from my point of view, when I get elected, one of the first things I want to do is make London the most motorbike friendly city in the world.” 

The protest will take place on Sunday, August 20, meeting at 10am at the Ace with the ride starting at around 11.15am. The 42-mile route will head north from the Ace joining the M25 before heading south to junction nine and the A24 to Rykas, enabling riders to join at any point along the way.

ULEZ will expand to all London boroughs on August 29 following a failed High Court legal challenge to prevent it. Non-compliant bikes have to pay £12.50 per day – the same charge made for cars – to travel within it. Euro3 bikes (from 2006) and newer are compliant but some older bikes may not meet requirements. Low emission zones are also in a number of UK cities including Birmingham, Oxford and Bristol.

Biking culture under threat

Ace Café owner Mark Wilsmore

One venue that will be swallowed up by the ULEZ expansion is the Ace Cafe, run by Mark Wilsmore, which is situated just outside the original ULEZ boundary of the North Circular Road.

“Well, the significant effect was when it came in, in fact,” said Wilsmore. “Many of our visitors are from outside London, so as soon as it came in, people assumed we were in it. So yeah, it’s had a big impact from the word go, for both bikes and cars. And that’s all added to the cost of living, basically inflation. Challenging times for us, very challenging times.”

The extended zone will now fully encompass the Ace when it’s rolled out across all London boroughs on August 29, a move which Wilsmore believes is the latest in an ongoing attack on motorists that began long before Mayor Sadiq Khan made plans to extend ULEZ.

Ace Café London bike meet

“All of this was put in place quite some while ago by the then London Mayor called Boris. You could see the implications were clear basically from that moment and it’s not simply the ULEZ, as it has come to be known,” he said. 

“You have a whole package of things that in essence seem to me to set out to design out the private ownership of vehicles from the equation. The writing would appear to be on the wall for a society that’s become used to this indulgence of having their own vehicles and doing what we like with them.”

With the damage already done to some degree after the announcement of the original ULEZ scheme, and with the expansion coming in towards the end of the recreational riding season as schools reopen, Wilsmore says it will take time for him to assess further damage to the business.

Ace Café London event

“We get busier through the summer months as I’m sure any other destination type place would be,” he explained. “So, as we get into the autumn, typically visitors coming to us start to drop away in any case, so I don’t think it’s going to be as shockingly immediate as like pulling a plug out of a of a bath or something. It’ll be over a bit of a longer period and perhaps next spring we will start to see the sort of effect or otherwise that it has had.

“But I anticipate that actually the biggest effect has already happened, which was when it first came in.”

Shoreditch venue, the Bike Shed, was included in the original ULEZ scheme so has already felt the pain. MCN spoke to founder Dutch Van Someren about his opposition to the scheme and its larger rollout.

Bike Shed London

He said: “As a business revolving around motorcycles we are always going to suffer with any actions that reduce motorcycle use in London, especially lifestyle and recreational riding. It’s bad enough dealing with the recession, strikes and inflation without the city throwing this at us as well. My personal reaction is unprintable,” he said.

“It’s probably too late, but yes ULEZ for bikes is just as ridiculous as parking charges when it comes to motorcycles. They are penalising those least able to afford it, for using vehicles which cause no congestion and contribute less than 1% to London’s emissions. 

“There are too few powered-two-wheelers on the road in relation to cars, trucks and vans to even be measured for emissions accurately, so they should be excluded from any emissions restrictions. My understanding is that classic and vintage vehicles are excluded. But it does affect our business.”

High Court ULEZ challenge fails

First published 11 July 2023 by Stuart Presidge

Motorbikes in London

The High Court challenge to prevent London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ (Ultra Low Emissions Zone) extension has failed.

The legal challenge to the extension, due to be implemented at the end of August, was brought to court by four London borough councils; Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon, along with Surrey County Council in February. 

The collaboration of Tory majority councils challenged the expansion to the M25 ring on three grounds: Failure to follow statutory procedure; unlawful and unfair consultation regarding expected compliance rates in outer London; and unlawfulness regarding scrappage scheme, including failing to consider a buffer zone, irrationality and inadequate consultation.

Mayor Khan said via Twitter: “This landmark decision is good news as it means we can now can proceed with cleaning up the air in outer London on 29 August.

“The decision to extend ULEZ was very difficult and not something I took lightly and I continue to do everything possible to address any concerns Londoners may have.”

He added: “This unambiguous decision today in the High Court allows us to press on with the difficult but vital task of cleaning up London’s air and tackling the climate crisis.”

ULEZ will see non-compliant vehicles, including motorcycles, entering the zone charged £12.50 per day.

ULEZ in the balance as legal challenge mounted

First published 28 July by Stuart Prestidge

Councils unite to challenge ULEZ in court

With just over a month before London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) is extended to all boroughs, a challenge into its legality has been mounted in the High Court.

The expansion, announced by London Mayor Sadiq Khan last November, is due to be introduced on August 29, and will see anyone entering the zone charged £12.50 per day for non-compliant vehicles, including motorcycles, in an attempt, says the mayor, to improve air quality in the city.

The charge mostly affects older vehicles. With bikes produced after 2007 meeting Euro 3 to Euro 6 being exempt. However, many commuters use older machines to get around the capital.

Action Against ULEZ Extension sign

“The ULEZ so far has been transformational, reducing harmful pollution levels by almost a half in central London,” Khan said at the expansion announcement.

“But there is still far too much toxic air pollution permanently damaging the health of young Londoners and leading to thousands of early deaths.”

Khan’s August 29 deadline, however, is now in doubt following a two-day judicial review on July 4-5, heard at the High Court presided over by judge Mr Justice Swift, who is expected to issue his ruling before the end of the month.

This action was brought to the court by a collaboration of four London borough councils – Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon in addition to Surrey County Council.

Cllr Colin Smith, Leader of Bromley Council, said: “Our opposition remains absolute. It would be inexcusable for us to stand back and do nothing, and allow such a blatant, socially regressive tax grab to proceed unchallenged under the false flag of a health emergency.

“It is obviously a matter of deep regret that this has been necessary to bring this matter to the High Court, but we will always seek to do what is right for our residents.”

Legal challenge explained

The collaboration of Tory majority councils challenged the expansion to the M25 ring on three grounds: Failure to follow statutory procedure; unlawful and unfair consultation regarding expected compliance rates in outer London; and unlawfulness regarding scrappage scheme, including failing to consider a buffer zone, irrationality and inadequate consultation.

Cllr Smith added: “The implications for small businesses, employment patterns, the damage it will cause to priceless social care networks and the impact it will have on mental health are simply horrendous, and it is our duty to fight for those whose voices have hitherto been completely ignored by City Hall.”

Public opposition is also becoming more vocal with some anti-ULEZ protests getting increasing numbers of attendees. One demonstration organised by Khan Stop ULEZ on July 1 attracted 70 vehicles for a protest convoy.

Motorcycles in London

Another public group opposing the extension, Action Against ULEZ Extension, now boasts just over 34,000 members and is administrated by Nick Arlett, 72, who originally joined as a concerned London resident when the group was in its infancy.

He said: “A huge amount of elderly people like me, they’ve just have got nowhere to go. They lose their carers because their carers can’t afford to get to them anymore. They can’t get to their hospital appointments because they can’t do it. Loads of ambulances in with the in the NHS are non-compliant, so they’ve also got problems.” 

They are also preparing to mount a legal challenge to the expansion that will take a different angle than the current challenge by the councils, Specific details of their legal approach is still being finalised. “This is totally different thing, you know, because there’s no point in doing the same thing,” he explained.

“We’ve been campaigning against this for quite some time and all I can say is it’s based on European law. We’re not going away, you know, this is this is too huge.”

Simple maintenance could allow older bikes to ride in London’s extended ULEZ

First published 3 January 2023 by Stuart Prestidge

Gary Smith tests an older bike for Ulez exemption

With the announcement by London Mayor Sadiq Khan of the expansion of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), a test centre in Stevenage is advising riders of older bikes to carry out basic maintenance to avoid paying daily charges.

The ULEZ extension will take affect from August 29, 2023, and will cover all London boroughs within the M25. Put simply, vehicles made before 2007 when Euro3 emission standards came into law will be expected to pay a £12.50 surcharge.

However, well maintained, older bikes have been shown to qualify, producing less than the 0.15 g/km Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) limit, Transport for London have set.

Gary Smith, owner of the Stevenage centre which lays outside the extended zone so riders don’t have to pay the ULEZ charge to visit, is confident that with a little fettling even older bikes will pass.

“My pass rate for pre 2007 is about 70%. The biggest thing I found is just having the bike running correctly,” said Gary. “We have had a lot of issues with the E5 fuel which is a problem for carbs if it has been standing for a while.”

Gary says the simplest maintenance such as changing the fuel and air filters and spark plugs to ensure efficient fuel combustion could be all that is needed to pass, having seen first-hand a 30-year-old bike meet the criteria.

“I had an early 90s Honda NTV 650 that came in and looked like it had come out of a swamp, but mechanically it was running lovely and had really good emissions,” he continued. “There isn’t really a reason why any bike can’t be made exempt.”

ULEZ testing costs £175, equivalent to 14 days of charges without an exemption. Should your bike pass, its registration data will be stored on a centralised system, removing the need pay. Should you fail, a £110million scrappage scheme begins from January 30, 2023, with some riders getting up to £1000 for their old motorcycle. 

Gary added: “The most expensive one we have had so far to rectify has been about £375, including all the testing and retesting.

“I haven’t found anyone yet who can sell their bike, put £375 towards it, and buy a post 2007 bike. It’s always going to be cheaper to get your bike done.”

To book your ULEZ test or find out more information visit www.uleztesting.co.uk

London’s low emission zone grows: City-wide motorcycle scrappage scheme on offer as ULEZ expands to all boroughs from August 2023

First Published 25 November 2022 by Dan Sutherland

Sadiq Khan with ULEZ sign

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that he will expand the city’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to cover all boroughs as of Tuesday, August 29, 2023.

ULEZ was introduced back in 2019 in an attempt improve air quality in London by removing the most polluting vehicles from the road. Said to have already reduced roadside pollution levels by 44% in central London and 20% in inner London, the zone operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and entering with a non-compliant bike incurs a daily charge of £12.50.

The new zone will now run up to the city’s Low Emission Zone boundary – potentially impacting millions more riders and drivers using non-compliant machinery for work and leisure. As it stands, any bike manufactured after the point Euro3 came into force (2007) is compliant, however some earlier bikes are also exempt. 

London Congestion Charge sign

According to a statement released on November 25 from the Mayor of London’s offices, the expansion will lead to a saving of 27,000 tonnes of CO2 in outer London – with a claimed 85% of motorists already compliant in outer London.

Despite this, alongside the expansion, the mayor has also announced a new £110million scrappage scheme that could see you get money for your non-compliant bike to put towards a new one.

Open to applicants online from January 30, 2023, riders could get up to £1000 for their motorcycle (half what you’d get for a car) – providing they live in a London borough or the City of London and receive one or more benefits including: Universal Credit, Carer’s Allowance, Housing Benefit, and more. The full list can be found at tfl.gov.uk

A 12-month unlimited travel pass on TfL busses and trams across the city is also available alongside a lower grant payment for some options too, should you so wish.

Help to turn green: More money to encourage Londoners to change bikes

First published 26 August 2021 by Jordan Gibbons

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan - photo: Greater London Authority

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced additional funding for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) scrappage scheme ahead of its expansion in October.

ULEZ was introduced in 2019 in a bid to improve air quality in London. The zone operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and entering with a non-compliant bike incurs a daily charge of £12.50.

Any bike manufactured after 2007, the point Euro3 came into force, is compliant, however some earlier bikes are also exempt. From October, the zone will extend to the North and South Circular roads.

Motorbikes in London

Concerns have been raised about low income families or workers who rely on older vehicles. To combat this, the Mayor has announced an additional £5 million for the scrappage scheme, which gives Londoners £1000 towards a new bike. Only those who receive certain forms of benefit are eligible.

There are other alternatives to scrapping bikes, including the National Emissions Test Centre, who can test older bikes for compliance with ULEZ and, in some cases, make modifications or fit catalysts to ensure compliance. A test costs £175 and can be booked online.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to move ahead with ULEZ expansion plans

First published on 18 May 2021 by Ben Clarke

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan - photo: Greater London Authority

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that he will press on with the expansion of the city’s Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) as planned.

The new zone will come into effect on Monday, October 25, 2021 and will reach out to the North and South Circular ring roads, an area 18-times greater than the original.

If your motorbike doesn’t meet Euro3 emissions regulations (which came into effect in 2007) then you could need to pay a daily charge of £12.50 to ride inside the ULEZ. Older bikes can be tested, however, and qualify for an exemption.

“I pledge to be the greenest Mayor London’s ever had with a mandate from Londoners to put the environment and climate policies at the heart of my second term in office,” said Mr Khan. “Today I am reaffirming my commitment to speed up the cleaning of London’s toxic air.

“In central London, the ULEZ has already helped cut toxic roadside nitrogen dioxide pollution by nearly half and led to reductions that are five times greater than the national average. But pollution isn’t just a central London problem, which is why expanding the ULEZ later this year will benefit Londoners across the whole of the city and is a crucial step in London’s green recovery.”

What is the London ULEZ and how does it work?

First published on 16 April, 2019 by Jordan Gibbons

Motorcycle ULEZ exemption test

Riders of older motorcycles in London have been handed a lifeline thanks to a new TfL-approved emissions testing centre being set up that should see many older bikes be exempted from the upcoming ULEZ (Ultra Low Emissions Zone) charge.

On April 8, the Capital introduced the new ULEZ in a further bid to improve air quality. To enter this zone, all motorcycles that are not compliant with Euro3 (ie made pre-2007) have to pay £12.50 per day.

Is my old bike going to cost more to ride in London?

Not necessarily. As TfL are currently only intending to crack down on vehicles with excessive NOx emissions and many pre-2007 bikes actually produce less than the 0.15 g/km limit TfL have set, so older bikes could be exempt as long as owners can prove their low NOx emissions.

Some bikes were tested for this when manufactured (and bike builders will be able to supply confirmation of this) but many were not, so until now there was no way of proving a bike’s emissions were under the limit. Now, however, Riverbank Motorcycles, which is the only TfL-approved facility for testing bikes, has removed that problem.

How does it work?

It’s been set up by John Rusby and Neil Freeman at Riverbank Motorcycles just by the London Olympic Park. It’s similar to a motorcycle dyno, however they have had to source new exhaust gas measuring equipment and develop their own test that meets the rigors of the emissions standards.

Motorcycle tested for London ULEX exemption

Bikes are placed on the dyno, run through the test three times, which involves idling, acceleration and deceleration, and an average is then taken. Much like an MoT, the result is a straight pass or fail.

“Well maintained, properly set-up and cared-for bikes stand a much better chance of meeting the standard and passing the test,” says Freeman. “However, there are certain problems that will guarantee a fail; such as leaking inlet manifolds or badly fitting air filters.”

If a bike passes the test, the results are uploaded straight to the TfL database resulting in an exemption. But even if a bike fails it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes simple maintenance is all that’s needed to get the bike within the correct levels. Although, even then, not all bikes will be able to meet the standards.

For more information, or to book a test for your bike, go to www.nationalemissionstestcentre.com The tests costs £175.

It’s worth noting that there’s no central database on which to check if your bike is exempt. This is because bikes are being tested on an individual basis to account for any modifications. So just because your friend’s identical old bike has been proven exempt, that doesn’t mean yours automatically is too.

Many motorbikes could be exempt from London emission charge

First published on 3 January, 2019 by Jordan Gibbons

Motorbikes in London

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


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.

We Ride London campaign launched to improve safety and oppose ULEZ charge

First published on 30 November, 2016 by Jordan Gibbons

We Ride London campaign

The We Ride London campaign is hoping to convince Transport for London to increase motorcycle safety provision and to properly consider motorcycles in London’s emission proposals

London’s road network has been creaking for years and this year it finally ended up almost back where it started at an average journey speed of 7.9mph. Many reasons have been attributed to this: more roadworks, higher population, 40,000 more taxis… The list goes on but of all of the options, we’re confident in saying motorcycles aren’t one of them.

Yet, despite being seen as one of the solutions to London’s congestion problem, motorcycles are not part of TfL’s plans. In fact, they’ve allocated absolutely zero budget to motorcycle provision, even though 55,000 people ride a motorcycle or scooter in London every day.

One of We Ride London’s chief aims is to get city authorities to acknowledge the need for increased motorcycle safety provision including protection of lane widths to allow for safe filtering and London-wide use of bus lanes. We Ride London are also seeking to oppose the current proposals of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) as it is very unclear in its discussion of bikes.

“We’re sort of seen as pests, rather than part of solution for keeping London moving,” says Mike Butler, Co-founder of We Ride London. “We would like to encourage people to take two-wheeled transport, whoever they may be, as it cuts down journey times and congestion for everyone but we think TfL’s current proposals will discourage people.”

The ULEZ proposal is that any motorcycle or scooter that is not Euro3 compliant (ie. made before 1st July 2007) will have to pay up to £12.50 per day charge to drive inside the North or South Circular. Unlike the congestion zone, the ULEZ will apply 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

“The people that need representation most of all are those that ride a motorcycle or scooter just to get to work,” says Butler. “They’re builders, cooks, surgeons, cleaners, your neighbour, your son or daughter or whatever… Some of these people can’t use public transport due to odd hours, or cost, and to those people new bikes could be financially out of reach while a £12.50 daily charge would be totally unaffordable.”

“There are other hidden costs too,” adds Philip Marshall, fellow co-founder. “There are over 1500 mechanics inside the proposed wider ULEZ whose businesses would all be badly affected.”

To raise awareness of the campaign, We Ride London has a Facebook page and they are also encouraging people to take part on Instagram and Twitter using the #WeRideLondon hashtag. In the meantime, there’s still some time remaining on the ULEZ consultation so they are urging everyone to respond to it. You can do so here: ULEZ consultation 

And while it’s tempting to think this doesn’t affect you because you don’t live in London, there are already five other UK cities earmarked for similar measures including Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham so get involved!

London ultra low emission zone approved

First published on 26 March, 2021 by Andy Downes

A new Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) will be in place in September 2020 according to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and all motorcycles over 13 years old will have to pay £12.50 per day to enter.

The ULEZ is the world’s first such zone and will require all vehicles travelling in the congestion charge zone of central London to meet the emissions standards 24 hours a day, seven days a week or pay a daily charge.

A consultation was launched in November 2014 and has seen more than 16,000 responses.

Bikes have been included in the charging plans despite the fact they account for less than 1% of nitrous oxide emissions and help to reduce congestion for all travellers by removing cars from the road, older bikes are regarded as heavy polluters.

The rules for motorcycles applies to motorcycles under this rule:

  • Motorcycles and similar vehicles – Euro 3 (registered from July 1, 2007 – 13 years old or less in 2020).  Non-compliant vehicles will pay a daily charge of £12.50.

The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) have stated they have intentionally confirmed the ULEZ five years ahead of its introduction to give warning and preparation time for affected road users.

Residents living in the ultra low emission zone will have a three year ‘sunset period’, meaning that they do not need to comply with the emissions standards until September 2023. Classic vehicles meeting the free vehicle excise duty rules of the rolling 40 year age are also exempt from the rules.

Michele Dix, managing director of planning at TfL, said: “London’s air quality has an impact on the health of every person living in this city which is why addressing emissions from road transport is such a priority. 

“The ULEZ is a feasible and effective way to improve air quality not only in central London but it will also have a positive impact across the whole city too. 

“We believe that giving owners of non-compliant vehicles more than five years to prepare means that they have fair warning to decide whether to change their vehicle to one that meets the emissions standards of the zone or pay a daily charge.”

Bikes facing London congestion charge

First published on 27 November, 2015 by Andy Downes

London Congestion Charge sign

All motorcycles built before 2007 will be charged the same fee as cars to enter the London congestion charge zone under current plans by the capital’s transport authority.

The new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is due to come into force in 2020 and under the current outline it would mean all vehicles built before 2007 would be liable for a charge, with motorcycles liable to be charged the same as cars; projected to be £12.50 per day.

The plans in the consultation state: “The ULEZ would require all vehicles driving in central London to meet new exhaust emission standards (ULEZ standards). The ULEZ would take effect from 7 September 2020, and apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A vehicle that does not meet the ULEZ standards could still be driven in central London but a daily charge would have to have been paid to do so.”

London's main polluters by traffic type

The rules would mean any motorcycle built before 2007 and the implementation of the Euro3 emissions regulations would be forced to pay the congestion charge but by 2020 the newest bikes would be 13 years old. Transport for London (TfL) claim many of the current bikes affected would be swapped by then but this will still cause problems for many riders and force many off the road in central London.

Despite the fact that bike account for less than 1% of nitrous oxide emissions and help to reduce congestion for all travellers by removing cars from the road, older bikes are regarded as heavy polluters.

A quote from the public consultation states: “Motorcycles, mopeds and similar vehicles can be extremely polluting on an individual basis but, in total, account for a small proportion of kilometres driven in central London.”

Rider group MAG is urging all motorcyclists potentially affected by this change to the current rules where all two-wheelers are congestion charge exempt to have their say and lodge comments on the public consultation to ensure our voices are heard.

2014 London ULEZ map