9th Feb, 2022
However you feel about the incoming Clean Air Zones – and they’re certainly splitting opinion – there’s no doubt that driving is going to become more expensive this year. Between the still sky-high fuel prices, the computer chip shortage that continues to inflate the prices of both new and used cars, and the aforementioned Clean Air Zones being enacted in multiple cities, drivers have to keep a closer eye on their wallets than ever before. It’s no wonder that some people are deciding to pack in their automotive transports altogether, and just deciding – I need to scrap my car!
If you’re planning on keeping yours though, here’s a heads-up on some of the two biggest initiatives which are set to come into effect from this February onwards.
The Oxford Zero Emissions Zone has been in the works for some time, but now it’s finally ready to launch. It comes hot on the heels of the London Ultra Low Emissions Zone expansion, and the introduction of Clean Air Zones in Bath and Birmingham.
Now, from the 28th of February 2022 onwards, only vehicles that produce zero emissions will be permitted to travel within the boundaries of the zone without incurring an extra charge. All other vehicles (which is, yes, probably most of them) will be subject to daily fees. Drivers or operators of the most polluting petrol and diesel fees will have to pay a daily fee of £10 from February, which rises to £20 by 2025. These fees will be applicable between 7am and 7pm – if drivers travel within the zone’s boundaries outside those hours, they won’t have to pay. They’ll also be exempted if they have a 100% discount or exemption.
Oxfordshire County Council has been quite clear with its intentions on its Zero Emissions Zone; it wants to encourage more people to switch to lower or zero emissions vehicles. The ZEZ, to give it its slightly snappier moniker, covers a relatively small area for now, but there are plans to expand it later on, until it covers most of the city centre. Don’t worry though – if you’re affected by the current ZEZ, you’ll have a bit of time to prepare for that one. The ZEZ won’t be expanded before the council has had a chance to run further assessments, consultations, and funding.
If you’re based in or around London, or you drive through it regularly, you’ll already know that the London Congestion Charge has gone through its fair share of major changes recently. In 2020, Transport for London brought in a number of temporary changes in the wake of the national lockdowns, in an effort to reduce the amount of traffic in order to make way for essential journeys. These involved raising the congestion charge from £11.50 per day to £15 per day, and the hours of the scheme were also extended so that the penalties applied between 7am and 10pm.
Recently, the Congestion Charge was suspended over Christmas and New Year to help people visit family, but now from the 21st of February, some of these changes are set to become permanent – with just a few small changes. The rate of £15 per day is now set in stone, but they’re changing the hours of operation, so that the charges now apply between 7am and 6pm. According to Transport for London, they’re primarily doing that to assist shift workers in London’s economy, such as NHS staff and hospitality sector workers. Operating hours on weekends and bank holidays will also change slightly, running from 12pm to 6pm.
Transport for London have released a statement emphasising their hope that the changes would help address the traffic challenges in central London, while ensuring that the progress made in reducing car dependency isn’t lost. Their top priority is on helping people to walk and cycle more, as well as helping them to make the switch to using more public transport in the heart of the city, and meeting their own emissions reduction targets.
Let’s be honest – these changes are going to be pretty polarising for the vast majority of people. Like them or not though, they’re here to stay. And while we might not be able to help you directly with the budgeting for this sort of stuff, what we can always do is help you get a little more money in your pocket when you choose us to scrap your car. All you need to do is enter your car reg and postcode into the fields on our site, and we’ll get you an instant online quote before you can say cash for cars. It only takes a few seconds. Curious to find out how much your car is worth?