What is the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)?
The Ultra Low Emission Zone or ULEZ was introduced in London in April 2019 in a bid to reduce air pollution levels and carbon emissions from transport across the capital. The ULEZ currently covers most of Central London, including the City and Westminster areas, and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 364 days of the year: the only exception being Christmas Day.
Most vehicles need to meet the ULEZ emissions standards or you must pay a daily charge to drive inside the zone. Whether your car complies depends on the amount of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) it emits.
Under the ULEZ, diesel vehicles that were registered before 2015 and therefore do not meet Euro 6 standards and petrol cars and vans which were registered before 2006 and therefore do not meet Euro 4 standards will be subject to a £12.50 charge for every day that they enter the marked Zone.
When is the London ULEZ expanding?
The ULEZ will be expanded to cover most of Greater London from 25 October 2021.
You can use TfL’s ULEZ postcode checker to see whether your address falls within the expanded ULEZ area.
Why is the ULEZ expanding this October?
The ULEZ expansion forms part of the government’s long-term plan to reduce pollution in London. The original ULEZ in central London saw the number of cleaner vehicles increase from 39% in 2017 to 80% and roadside NO2 (Nitrogen dioxide) levels fell by 44%.
As road transport is the biggest source of the emissions damaging health in London, the government hopes that expanding the ULEZ will improve air quality for Londoners across the city.
Where will London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone expand to?
Currently, the ULEZ covers most of Central London, including the City and Westminster areas. From October 25 2021 the zone will be expanded to cover most of Greater London, encompassing the entire area between the North and South Circular roads.
This means that as well as covering the City of London and Westminster, as it has until now, the zone also covers the central boroughs of Camden, Islington, Haringey, Hackney, Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Tower Hamlets in their entirety.
The boroughs of Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham, Richmond, Hounslow, Ealing, Brent, Barnet, Enfield, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Newham and Greenwich are partly included in the ULEZ.
After the expansion, the ULEZ zone will be approximately 18 times larger, and affect hundreds of thousands more Londoners, as well as anyone driving into the city.
Who will have to pay the daily charge when driving within the expanded ULEZ area?
Anyone driving a vehicle that fails to meet Transport for London’s exhaust emissions standards has to pay the ULEZ charge – a daily charge of £12.50 for cars, vans and motorbikes and £100 for lorries and coaches.
Petrol vehicles require a Euro 4 engine to comply, and diesel vehicles a Euro 6 engine. Roughly speaking this means that petrol vehicles first registered after 2005, and diesel vehicles registered after 2015, will not have to pay.
In general, ULEZ-compliant vehicles are newer petrol and diesel vehicles, as well as electric and hybrid vehicles.
You can check whether your vehicle is ULEZ-compliant using TfL’s online checker tool.
How much will the daily charge be in the new ULEZ area?
The daily charge of £12.50 will remain the same after the extension. So broadly speaking, if you have an old petrol or diesel vehicle then you may have to pay £12.50 a day to drive in the zone. For non-compliant lorries and coaches there is a higher daily charge of £100. More than 700 cameras will monitor vehicles in the zone.
TfL states that drivers can pay by midnight on the third day after the journey or up to 90 days in advance. If you do not pay the charge, you could receive a £160 fine.