Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

Ultra Low Emission Zone

From 8th April 2019, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is in operation within central London. Drivers of vehicles which fail to meet the ULEZ emissions standards must pay a daily charge to drive within the zone. The ULEZ covers the same area as the London Congestion Charge Zone, and the charge is paid in addition to the Congestion Charge where applicable. However, unlike the Congestion Charge, the ULEZ is operational all hours of the day.

The aim of the Ultra Low Emission Zone is to incentivise the use of the lowest polluting vehicles in order to improve air quality in the capital, the scheme superseding the previous T-Charge (which now only applies to some residents for a limited period - see Discounts and Exemptions).

London T-Charge Zone

Map courtesy of TfL

How much does it cost to drive within the ULEZ?

For cars and vans (up to and including 3.5 tonnes) meeting or exceeding the minimum emissions standards, no ULEZ charge is paid. These minimum emissions standards are: Petrol Euro 4 and Diesel Euro 6. Note that for these vehicles, the Congestion Charge may still apply.

Drivers of cars and vans(up to and including 3.5 tonnes) NOT meeting these minimum emissions standards must pay a daily ULEZ charge of £12.50 to drive within the zone. Note that for these vehicles, the ULEZ charge is in addition to any Congestion Charge that applies. Non-payment of the ULEZ charge may result in a penalty charge of £160 (reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days).

The daily ULEZ charge runs from midnight to midnight. Payment of the daily charge (where applicable) is made once per vehicle, which can leave and re-enter the zone within the same day (as defined). Drivers of vehicles driven within the ULEZ area across two days, for example before midnight and after midnight, will have to pay two daily charges.

The ULEZ is enforced based on the declared emissions of the vehicle rather than the age. However, as a general rule, petrol cars that meet the ULEZ standards are generally those first registered with the DVLA after 2005, although cars that meet the standards have been available since 2001. Diesel cars that meet the standards are generally those first registered with the DVLA after September 2015.

Find your car's Euro standard using NGC's Car Comparison Tool

ULEZ charge times and payment

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year (unlike the Congestion Charge which only applies between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday). Non-business drivers can pay any applicable ULEZ charges in advance, on the same day as travel, or by midnight on the charging day after they drove in the zone. Owners of business vehicles can set up an AutoPay account to automate payments, and/or Fleet Auto Pay for fleets of at least five vehicles.

Pay ULEZ charge (TfL website)

AutoPay ULEZ charge (TfL website)

ULEZ charge discounts and exemptions

Residents who are registered for the residents' Congestion Charge discount will be granted a time-limited grace period until 24 October 2021 where a 100% discount from the ULEZ will apply to their vehicles. However, residents using a vehicle that doesn't meet the T-Charge emissions standards will continue to pay the T-Charge, at a discounted rate of 90%, during the ULEZ resident grace period. From 25 October 2021, all residents must pay the full daily ULEZ charge to drive a vehicle in the zone if it does not meet the ULEZ standards.

Keepers of vehicles registered with a 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicles' tax class will benefit from a grace period until 26 October 2025 as long as their vehicle doesn't change tax class. Blue Badge holders will need to pay the charge from 8 April 2019 unless their vehicle meets the new ULEZ emission standards or is registered with the DVLA with a 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicle' tax class. From 27 October 2025, all vehicles with 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicles' tax class that do not meet the ULEZ emission standards will be liable for the daily ULEZ charge.

All London-licensed taxis are exempt from ULEZ charges, subject to a 15-year age limit. From 1 January 2018 all newly licensed taxis must be capable of producing zero emissions. Private hire vehicles (PHVs) that do not meet the emissions standards must pay the full ULEZ charge to drive within the zone. However, designated wheelchair-accessible PHVs will be granted a grace period until 26 October 2025 - during this period designated wheelchair-accessible PHVs used to carry out a private hire booking for a TfL-licensed PHV operator will be exempt from the ULEZ daily charge.

In addition to vehicles that meet the emissions criteria (see above), ULEZ exemptions also include historic vehicles more than 40 years old (rolling), agricultural and military vehicles, non-road going vehicles which are allowed to drive on the highway (for example, excavators), and certain mobile cranes.

ULEZ discounts and exemptions (TfL website)

ULEZ vehicle check

To find out your car's Euro emissions standard and whether you are exempt from paying the ULEZ Charge when driving in central London, you can search for your model - new or used - on NGC's Car Comparison Tool by clicking the button below. Alternatively, you can use the TfL website to check your vehicle.

Find your car's Euro standard using NGC's Car Comparison Tool

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:25th Mar 2019

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