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Hampton Court Palace reveals Ulez loophole to help drivers avoid £12.50 charge when visiting
1 September 2023, 13:14
Visitors hoping to drive to Hampton Court Palace have been told how they can avoid the £12.50 Ulez charge when exiting the site thanks to a loophole.
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When leaving the site, those taking the normal route out of the car park will emerge into the Ulez charging zones, meaning anybody with a non-compliant car will be charged £12.50.
But by taking a left out of the palace’s car park, visitors will be able to avoid the scheme’s enforcement cameras, which are located further north along the road.
The private roads within the grounds and the car park are not within the Ulez charging area.
“Hampton Court, on the cusp of the stalag Ulez, should be applauded in helping non-compliant car drivers to avoid paying this draconian tax,” Howard Cox, Reform UK’s London mayoral candidate, said.
He applauded the guidance from the Tudor palace, a Grade I listed royal palace which was built by Cardinal Wosley in the 16th century.
The palace was a favourite of Henry VIII who brought all six of his wives there to visit.
It comes after Ulez was expanded to cover all of London on Tuesday, which means drivers entering any part of the capital will need to pay the fee if their car does not meet emission standards.
The mayor insists it is needed to clean up the city's air and avoid premature deaths but critics say it clobbers motorists who already face hefty costs.
The Ulez scheme uses cameras to detect the number plates of cars and sends drivers a charge if their vehicle doesn't meet its requirements.
It previously only covered all areas within the North and South Circular Roads, but will now cover areas in outer London, such as Kingston upon Thames, Croydon and Barnet.
Hampton Court Palace’s guidance will benefit those driving from outside of London - unlike the nearby attraction site, Chessington World of Adventures, which confirmed that its entrances fall within the enforcement area.
The Tudor palace issued the advice under the queries section of its website.
One question asked: “Is Hampton Court Palace and its car park in the expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone and Low Emission Zone boundaries?”
The reply said: “Yes, but the entry to the palace is outside both zones and the private roads within the grounds and the car park are not subject to any charges. However, cars exiting the car park are.”
And a second said: “Will I be charged exiting the palace?”
To which the reply was: “The exit of the carpark onto Hampton Court Road emerges into the charging zones. However, left-turning, non-compliant cars exiting the palace carpark back out of London will not be seen by Ulez camera (located further north along the road) unless they re-enter the Ulez zone elsewhere with a non-compliant vehicle.”
Historic Royal Palaces advised visitors from the M25 to take either exit 10 onto the A307, or exit 12, onto the A308. From the A3, drivers can take the A309.
Sadiq Khan said as the controversial scheme was expanded on Tuesday: “This is a landmark day for our city which will lead to a greener, healthier London for everyone. The decision to expand the ULEZ London-wide was a difficult one, but necessary to save lives, protect children’s lungs and help prevent asthma, dementia and other health issues.
"All the evidence shows that it’s clean air zones like ULEZ that are the game-changer in a city like London when it comes to cutting toxic air quickly and meaningfully to protect people's health. It’s thanks to the ULEZ that we are now set to get London's air to within legal limits in the next couple of years, 184 years earlier than previously projected."