To help clear London's air and improve health, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is expanding again this Summer.
Poor air quality is impacting the health of those living, working, and visiting London, with research showing that the main cause is polluting vehicles. Road transport is the single biggest contributor of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter emissions in Greater London.
The ULEZ in London will expand again on 29 August 2023 to cover all London boroughs. From that date, drivers of non-compliant vehicles will have to pay a charge to use their vehicle within the zone – which will cover most roads within the M25 motorway.
The ULEZ was first implemented in April 2019 to discourage the use of heavily polluting vehicles and improve air quality in London’s Congestion Charge zone. It was expanded in October 2021 to include all roads inside the North and South Circular.
From 29 August 2023, the Zone will further expand to cover the same area as the existing Low Emission Zone (LEZ), stretching as far as Enfield, Croydon, Rainham, and Uxbridge to the North, South, East, and West respectively.
The LEZ, which has been in place since 2008 requires that diesel vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tonnes entering Greater London meet at least Euro 3 emissions standards and heavier vehicles.
When does the ULEZ operate, and how much does it cost?
A daily ULEZ charge of £12.50 applies for non-compliant vehicles 24 hours a day, every day except Christmas Day. The charge applies in addition to the £15 Congestion Charge, which means that if you drive a non-compliant vehicle through central London while the Congestion Charge is in operation, you will have to pay a total of £27.50.
The Congestion Charge operates from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and Midday to 6pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays There is also a break from Christmas Day to the New Year’s Day bank holiday.
Payment of the ULEZ charge covers a 24-hour period, from midnight to midnight. That means that if you’re driving in the zone before and after midnight, you’ll have to pay twice.
The ULEZ has no barriers or toll booths. Instead, cameras read your number plate as you drive within the zone and check it against the database of UK-registered and non-UK-registered vehicles. This shows whether your vehicle meets the ULEZ emissions standards, is exempt, is registered for a discount, or if you have already paid the daily charge.
If you are parked but don’t drive, you don’t need to pay the ULEZ charge. However, even if you make a short trip using a vehicle that doesn’t meet the ULEZ standards you need to pay the daily change.
How do I know if my Vehicle is ULEZ compliant?
Whether you’ve got a small car or a large van, you may have to pay to drive in the ULEZ, depending on the emissions produced by your vehicle.
A diesel vehicle must meet the Euro 6 exhaust emissions standards and a petrol vehicle must meet Euro 4 standards. Most diesel vans registered before September 2015 will have to pay the charge, as well as most petrol vans produced before January 2006.
All electric vans and cars – including, of course, Ford’s Mach-E, the Ford E-Transit and the Iveco eDaily – are ULEZ compliant regardless of age because they do not produce any local emissions.
Discounts and exemptions are also granted for certain non-compliant vehicles, such as:
If you’re unsure about whether your vehicle meets the requirements, check below on the Vehicle ULEZ Checker to be directed to the dedicated TFL vehicle checker.
Since the introduction of the ULEZ in 2019, several UK cities, including Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol, have introduced Clean Air Zones (CAZs). The goal of the zones is the same as that of the ULEZ. Some CAZs, such as Birmingham's, operate in a similar way to the ULEZ, charging some drivers of all vehicle types, whereas others specifically charge drivers of non-compliant taxis, vans and/or HGVs.