Nearly 83% increase in NI ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) registrations

Ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) registrations shot up 82.9% across Northern Ireland from July to September 2021, Q3 - compared to the same time a year before, an increase from 4,186 vehicles to 7645.

By Claire Cartmill
Monday, 17th January 2022, 5:00 pm

Ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) registrations shot up 82.9% across Northern Ireland from July to September 2021, Q3 - compared to the same time a year before, an increase from 4,186 vehicles to 7645.

The newly released figures by the Department of Transport show tremendous growth over the last three years per district Council area despite the pandemic, with 2019 Q3 recording 2,960 ULEVS in Northern Ireland, rising by 42% to 4,186 in 2020.

Regionally, all district council areas have witnessed a noticeable increase in ULEV registrations of more than 50%, with the top spot, Lisburn and Castlereagh, recording an incredible 102% increase, closely followed by Fermanagh and Omagh at 90% and Belfast at 87%.

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Greg Wilson, founder of

Causeway Coast & Glens recorded a impressive 79%, followed by Derry City & Strabane 78.3%, Newry, Mourne & Down 77.7%, Ards & North Down 70.7%, Antrim & Newtownabbey 64.4%, Mid & East Antrim 61%, Mid Ulster 53.8% and finally Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon 52.4%.

Before Christmas, the BBC reported that Northern Ireland was the only UK region not to claim vital street funding due to confusion over who should be claiming it, resulting in the creation of a consortium to help speed up progress and get a bid in before the end of the financial year.

Northern Irish entrepreneur Greg Wilson, founder of, Northern Ireland’s leading car insurance comparison website, believes working from home could be influencing and changing people’s motoring habits.

Commenting on the recent figures, he continued: “These figures show that the government’s aim to phase out fossil fuels from motoring is starting to take effect across Northern Ireland despite the pandemic – perhaps working from home has made running an electric vehicle more feasible.

“However, the government needs to speed up its investment in the infrastructure to match this pace so that public vehicle charging becomes a reality.

“With the rising cost of electricity putting pressure on homeowners, this needs to be a priority.”

New car sales in Northern Ireland increased marginally in 2021 by just 425 vehicles - down 29% on 2019, far below pre-pandemic levels, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Highlighting the ‘likely link’ to the decline being the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and the ‘logistical struggles of many manufacturers’, Greg explained: “The fall in car registrations is likely linked to the pandemic and the logistical struggles many manufacturers are having with securing essential parts – increasing demand for quality second-hand vehicles.

“Given these findings, we’d expect a real appetite for electric and hybrid vehicles once Covid related logistics are ironed out.”

Average CO2 emissions for cars registered for the first time in the UK went down by 14% with petrol car registrations falling 41% and diesel falling by 66%. has helped over 650,000 users compare products from over 200 insurers including bespoke products such as electric car insurance and young driver insurance - recommended by 97% of reviewers on’s parent company, Seopa, also founded by Greg Wilson in 2003 has grown the Belfast company to more than 50 team members spread across two European offices. The company has also been recognised with six Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards, and has been awarded a Deloitte Best Managed Company Award each year for the past five years – now a Gold Standard Best Managed Company since 2020.

* Almost all the statistics in the vehicle licensing statistics series are derived by Department for Transport statisticians from extracts of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) vehicle database.

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