Is this car ULEZ compliant?

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Information is based on what we know about your vehicle. This may change without warning - always check to see if you need to pay to drive in London.

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A bit of a hot political potato at the moment, as it became an issue in the Uxbridge & South Ruislip parliamentary by-election, caused due to the cowardly incumbent running away rather than face the electorate. The ULEZ zone has now expanded from central London to include outer London, and therefore this is a question that may get asked more and more to traders.

If I were considering how best to answer this question, I would expect that if I checked the TfL (Transport for London) website, as they administer the scheme, about whether a vehicle is ULEZ compliant or not, then it would give me the answer that I require. However, it has recently come to our attention that this may not be so.

A case in point is the Porsche Panamera. If I enter the registration number of a 2015 Porsche Panamera into the TfL website, it states this vehicle is ULEZ compliant and the owner does not need to pay the daily ULEZ charge. The customer may then consider buying such a vehicle as it would be ideal for the daily commute into London, and so go ahead and purchase one.

However, in actual fact, the NOx emissions from a Porsche Panamera are 0.149 g/km, well above ULEZ limit of 0.08 g/km.  Because the vehicle was built in 2015 it is assumed that it meets Euro 6 standards, which would be ULEZ compliant, but in actual fact because of the emission rate, it is only to Euro 5 standards, and this does not meet the ULEZ criteria.

The TfL website makes an assumption based upon the date of manufacture of the vehicle as to whether a vehicle is ULEZ compliant or not. This means if you were to drive that vehicle into the ULEZ zone on the same day you checked the TfL website, you would not be charged. However, their website does include a disclaimer stating:

Information is based on what we know about your vehicle. This may change without warning – always check to see if you need to pay to drive in London. Discounts and exemptions will only show when you’re signed in and paying for charges.

In other words, if the TfL ever check individual vehicles and realise they are not ULEZ compliant, or changes the parameters of how their website checks for compliance, the status of this vehicle could change and the owner would be responsible for the ULEZ charges every time it was used in the ULEZ zone.

This could also be constituted as a misrepresentation because if a customer has asked if a vehicle is ULEZ compliant and if the trader has looked at the TfL website and it states it is ULEZ compliant, then this may be incorrect further down the line and opens the trader up to a misrepresentation allegation. Any such request should always be replied to in the terms that: “The TfL website states the vehicle is ULEZ compliant, but they do have a disclaimer that this may change.”

Fortunately, Motorway has a website on which you can check the ULEZ compliance of a vehicle. It appears this website takes the emissions data from the DVLA, compares it to the ULEZ standards, and determines whether the vehicle is ULEZ compliant based on that. So in this instance, the Porsche Panamera is correctly deemed by the Motorway website to not be ULEZ compliant. However, if the car was to be driven into central London, and the TfL website had been used to check its ULEZ compliance, no fee would be due.

It does, however, enable you to warn the customer that whilst it is ULEZ compliant according to the TfL website, the emissions are above the standards, and at some stage, fees may be due. Preferably, you should put this information in writing to the customer.

Impression Communications LtdPutting the motive in automotive

Impression works with businesses across the automotive aftermarket supply chain such as parts suppliers, warehouse distributors, motor factors and independent garages. Covering all aspects of automotive aftermarket marketing, including social media, event management, customer newsletters and PR, Impression is able to quickly establish itself within a client’s business and work towards their objectives.

With vehicle emissions being ever more important and of greater consideration when purchasing a vehicle, plus ULEZ and clean-air zones likely to be increasing around the country, the importance of providing the customer with the correct information is vital.

Darren FletcherLegal AdvisorRead More by this author

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