ULEZ stands for Ultra Low Emission Zone, which is an area in London where vehicles that do not meet certain emission standards have to pay a daily charge to enter. The ULEZ was introduced in 2019 to improve air quality and reduce pollution in the city. The ULEZ has been a controversial topic among Brits, especially Londoners, who have different opinions on its benefits and drawbacks. What do Brits really think of ULEZ?
ULEZ checker – Is your car exempt from the Ultra Low Emission Zone?
To find out if your car is exempt from the ULEZ, you need to check the emissions standard of your vehicle. The ULEZ is enforced based on the declared emissions of the vehicle rather than the age. Cars need to meet the following minimum emissions standards when travelling within the ULEZ or the daily £12.50 charge must be paid, according to Transport for London (TfL):
Petrol: Euro 4 (NOx)
Diesel: Euro 6 (NOx and PM)
You can use the TfL vehicle checker to see if your car meets the ULEZ emissions standards or if you need to pay the charge. You will need to enter your vehicle registration number and make sure your vehicle details are correct.
Some groups and vehicles qualify for temporary discounts or exemptions from the ULEZ. For example, residents who live within the zone and drive a vehicle that does not meet the ULEZ standards are eligible for a 100% discount until 29 August 2023, says the ULEZ Checker.
Are there any ULEZ exemptions?
There are some ULEZ exemptions for certain vehicles and drivers. According to TfL, some of the exemptions are:
Vehicles with ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicle’ tax class are exempt until 24 October 2027.
Wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV) that have been adapted for disabled access are exempt until 26 October 2025.
London-licensed taxis are exempt from the ULEZ charge.
Vehicles that are more than 40 years old and have historic vehicle tax class are exempt from the ULEZ charge.
Some agricultural, military, non-road going, and mobile crane vehicles are also exempt from the ULEZ charge.
You can check if your vehicle meets the ULEZ emission standards or if you qualify for any discounts or exemptions by using the vehicle checker. You will need to enter your vehicle registration number and make sure your vehicle details are correct.
Can I make my car ULEZ compliant?
If your car does not meet the ULEZ standards, you may be able to make it compliant by retrofitting it with emission reduction technologies, such as selective catalytic reduction or diesel particulate filters. However, this can be costly and complicated, and you will need to get approval from the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) before you can drive in the ULEZ without paying the charge. You can find out more about retrofitting your car here on the ULEZ website.
Alternatively, you may want to consider scrapping those non-compliant vehicles and buying a new one that meets the ULEZ standards. There are some grants and discounts available for Londoners who want to switch to cleaner vehicles, such as electric or hybrid cars. You can find out more about these options here on the TfL website.
It’s all about improving air quality and in central London, air quality is extremely important and a major concern for the health and well-being of its residents and visitors. The current air quality index (AQI) for London is 62, which is considered moderate. This means that the air quality is generally acceptable for most individuals, but sensitive groups may experience minor to moderate symptoms from long-term exposure. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has been working to improve air quality and discourage cars that produce high levels of harmful emissions for years now. If more and more of us make the switch to electric vehicles, air pollution will go a massive way in being reduced and we’ll be that step closer as we tackle pollution together.
How much is the London ULEZ charge?
The London ULEZ charge is a fee that applies to the most polluting vehicles that enter the ULEZ in London. The ULEZ currently covers all areas within the North and South Circular Roads, and will expand to include all areas within the M25 from 29 August 2023.
The ULEZ charge depends on the type and size of your vehicle. The daily charge is:
£12.50 for cars, motorcycles, vans and specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tonnes) and minibuses (up to and including 5 tonnes)
£100 for larger vehicles such as lorries, buses and coaches (over 3.5 tonnes or over 5 tonnes)
You need to pay the ULEZ charge by midnight on the third day following the journey, or you can pay up to 90 days in advance.
The ULEZ charge is in addition to the Congestion Charge, which is £15 per day for most vehicles entering the central zone between 7am and 10pm, every day except Christmas Day, according to TfL. You can check if your vehicle meets the ULEZ emissions standards and if you need to pay the charge by using the TfL vehicle checker.
The ULEZ is part of our efforts to improve London’s air quality and reduce harmful emissions from transport. The ULEZ has reduced roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in inner London by 20 % since it was introduced in April 2019, says TfL. By driving a cleaner vehicle or using other modes of transport, you can help us make London a healthier and greener city for everyone
Is the ULEZ expanding in 2023?
According to the TfL, the ULEZ will cover all areas within the M25 from 29 August 2023. This means that the ULEZ zone will more than double in size, affecting millions of residents and drivers who will need to comply with the ULEZ emissions standards or pay a daily charge of £12.50.
Is the Congestion Charge zone also expanding?
There are proposals to extend the Congestion Charge zone to cover the same area as the ULEZ, which is expanding across all London boroughs from 29 August 2023, according to Uni Com Insurance. However, these plans are not confirmed and are subject to negotiations between the Mayor of London and the UK Government. The Government has imposed these conditions as part of the financial support package for TfL during the COVID-19 pandemic, says City Monitor.
The ULEZ is £12.50 per day for cars, motorcycles, vans and minibuses that do not meet the emissions standards, and £100 per day for larger vehicles such as lorries, buses and coaches. The ULEZ charge is in addition to the Congestion Charge, so drivers of non-compliant vehicles could face a total charge of £27.50 per day if they enter both zones.
The Mayor of London and TfL have opposed the expansion of the Congestion Charge zone, arguing that it would be disastrous for London’s economy and recovery from the pandemic. They have also said that it would unfairly penalise millions of Londoners who live in outer areas and have no alternative to driving. They have proposed other ways to raise revenue for TfL, such as a new boundary charge for non-residents entering Greater London by car, or a reform of vehicle excise duty to support sustainable transport.
The expansion of the Congestion Charge zone is separate from the expansion of the ULEZ, which is designed to improve London’s air quality and reduce harmful emissions from transport.