The London ULEZ, or London Ultra Low Emission Zone, aims to improve air quality in our capital by encouraging people to buy newer cars with better emissions. It does this by charging older cars to enter the zone every day except Christmas. From 29th August 2023, it’s being extended to cover all boroughs. But before you go scurrying off for a Parkers car valuation on your current motor, read through our guide to the ULEZ for all you need to know. And if you’re unsure of your car’s finer details, you can check those at the DVLA website.
How far is the ULEZ extending?
From August 29th, the London ULEZ will cover every borough, going as far as the borders of Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, and Surrey. That makes it three times the size of the current ULEZ, and crucially, Heathrow Airport will be included.
Drivers of non-ULEZ compliant cars will need to pay every day they enter the grounds of the airport, on top of any of Heathrow’s charges. Those leaving their car in one of the carparks won’t need to pay while the car is stationary, only when they enter and leave.
How much is the ULEZ?
Cars and light commercial vehicles that fall foul of the ULEZ must pay £12.50 per day to drive within the zone. For the purposes of the TfL ULEZ charge, a day starts and ends at midnight – so if you enter the zone before midnight and then leave it after midnight, you’ll have to pay the ULEZ fee twice.
When does the ULEZ apply?
Charges apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This includes on all public holidays except Christmas Day (December 25)).
Is the ULEZ instead of the Congestion Charge?
The ULEZ charge is in addition to the cost of the London Congestion Charge Zone, which is presently £15 per day.
How do you pay the ULEZ charge?
Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras register your car as you enter and exit the ULEZ zone. You can pay by phone or online, and you can pay individually each time or set-up an account. There’s even a smartphone app.
Assuming you don’t have an AutoPay or London Road User Charging Account, you must pay by midnight on the third day after the journey. Note that phone lines are only open 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday–Friday.
UK: 0343 222 2222
International: +44 343 222 2222
Textphone: 020 7649 9123 (if you have impaired hearing)
What’s the fine for not paying ULEZ?
Fail to pay the regular ULEZ cost on time, and you’ll get a ULEZ Penalty Charge Notice. This costs £160, or £80 if you pay within the first 14 days.
What cars are exempt from the ULEZ charge?
Petrol cars need to meet Euro 4 emissions standards; generally, any model sold after September 2005. Euro 4 was introduced in 2001, so some older cars are also exempt. Diesels need to meet later Euro 6 standards. These became mandatory in September 2015, so any car or smaller van should be exempt. There are exceptions, and some older vehicles are once again exempt.
Other exemptions include cars more than 40 years old and registered as historic. The full list of exemptions is on the Transport for London website.
Do residents have to pay the ULEZ charge?
Before October 25, 2021, people who lived inside the London ULEZ were not required to pay to drive a non-ULEZ-compliant vehicle within the zone. However, they now must pay a full fee to do so. This does not apply if the vehicle remains parked for the day.