The London ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) Expansion is a planning to extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) across all London boroughs from 29 August 2023. The ULEZ is a scheme that charges drivers of the most polluting vehicles a daily fee of £12.50 to enter the zone, which currently covers central London.
According to Transport for London (TfL), the ULEZ expansion will affect around 3.8 million vehicles, but 9 out of 10 cars seen driving in outer London already meet the ULEZ emissions standards. The aim of the expansion is to improve air quality and public health, tackle the climate emergency, and reduce traffic congestion in London, says TfL.
The ULEZ for London
The ULEZ covers all areas within the North Circular and South Circular Roads, but it will expand to cover all areas within the M25 motorway from 29 August 2023. The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, except Christmas Day. The daily charge for non-compliant vehicles is £12.50 for cars, motorcycles, vans and minibuses, and £100 for lorries, buses and coaches.
You can check if your vehicle meets the ULEZ emissions standards or if you are eligible for any discounts or exemptions using the vehicle checker tool on the TfL website. Emissions standards are based on the Euro standards for different types of vehicles and engines, which set limits for air-polluting nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM), according to AutoTrader. Vehicles that do not meet the standards will have to pay the daily charge or apply for a scrappage scheme, a discount, or an exemption.
The ULEZ is part of a wider plan to improve London’s air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which also includes the Congestion Charge, the Low Emission Zone, and the Direct Vision Standard. The ULEZ was introduced by Mayor Sadiq Khan in April 2019, following the announcement by his predecessor Boris Johnson in March 2015 and is expected to reduce road transport emissions by up to 45% by 2020 and up to 80% by 2025.
How to get support if your vehicle is non-compliant
If your vehicle is non-compliant with the ULEZ emissions standards, you may be eligible for some support from the Mayor of London’s scrappage scheme, which provides financial assistance to help you scrap your old vehicle and switch to a cleaner, greener mode of transport. These are just some of the options available for different types of applicants:
If you are a Londoner living in one of the 32 London boroughs or the City of London, you can apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to scrap your non-compliant car or motorcycle. You can also choose to receive a lower payment plus one or two adult-rate Annual Bus and Tram Passes that are worth more than the payment alone.
If you are a small business (under 50 employees), a micro business (up to 10 employees), a sole trader or a charity with a registered address in London, you can apply for a grant of up to £21,000 to scrap up to three non-compliant vans or minibuses. You can also apply for a short-term grace period if your new or retrofitted vehicle will not be ready until after the ULEZ expansion, according to TfL.
If you are a charity operating in London, you can apply for a grant of up to £27,000 to scrap up to three non-compliant minibuses. You can also apply for a higher payment if you switch to an electric vehicle or retrofit your existing vehicle.
If you are a disabled Londoner with a non-compliant wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV), you can apply for a grant of up to £10,000 to scrap or retrofit your vehicle.
You can always check out the scrappage scheme page on the TFL (Transport for London) website and also see if your vehicle meets the ULEZ emissions standards or if you are eligible for any other measures, discounts or exemptions too, by using the vehicle checker tool. To scrap your car with jamjar check your free scrappage valuation here: https://www.jamjar.com/scrap-my-car/.
August 2023 Expansion
The ULEZ currently covers the same area as the Congestion Charge Zone in central London, but it will expand to cover all of Greater London from 29 August 2023. This means that any vehicle that does not meet the ULEZ emissions standards will have to pay £12.50 per day to drive within the expanded zone, unless they are eligible for a discount or exemption.
The expansion of the ULEZ is expected to reduce road transport emissions by up to 30% and improve the health of millions of Londoners who are exposed to poor air quality. Air pollution is linked to various health problems and ULEZ is one of the measures that the Mayor of London has introduced to tackle the air pollution crisis and make London’s air healthier.
You can find more information about these support schemes and offers on the TfL website, such as the scrappage scheme, as well as discounts and exemptions. You can also see a map of the current and expanded ULEZ boundaries here.
Will I be fined for entering the ULEZ without paying?
The answer to this question is yes. Sadly, you will be fined for entering the ULEZ without paying, unless you are eligible for a discount or exemption. The penalty charge for non-payment of the ULEZ is £160, which is reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days.
However, if you pay the ULEZ charge within 14 days of receiving a penalty charge notice, the penalty charge will be cancelled. You can pay the ULEZ charge online, by phone, or by post. You can also set up Auto Pay, which automatically charges your debit or credit card whenever you drive within the ULEZ. Auto Pay costs £10 per year per vehicle and can help you avoid forgetting to pay the ULEZ charge and getting fined. You can register for Auto Pay here.
Is my car ULEZ compliant?
Did you know that you can check if your car is ULEZ compliant? All you need to know is your vehicle registration (number plate), and its fuel type (petrol or diesel). You can use the ULEZ vehicle checker tool to enter these details and find out if your car meets the ULEZ emissions standards, which are based on the Euro standards for vehicle emissions. The Euro standards are different for petrol and diesel vehicles, and they have been progressively tightened over the years to reduce air pollution. The ULEZ emissions standards are:
Euro 4 for petrol vehicles
Euro 6 for diesel vehicles
The way that this works is simple. If your car meets these standards, it is ULEZ compliant and you do not need to pay the ULEZ charge to drive within the zone.
If your car does not meet these standards, it is not ULEZ compliant and you have to pay £12.50 per day to drive within the zone, unless you are eligible for a discount or exemption.
You can also use other online tools to check your car’s ULEZ compliance, such as ULEZ.co.uk. ULEZ will use data from the DVLA and TfL to determine if your car meets the emissions standards that qualify it as low-polluting.