With more and more UK cities introducing the ULEZ concept, these zones are becoming an increasingly common addition. There are a few variants of ULEZ around the country, but we’re going to focus on the zone that was introduced in London in 2019. This was the first, and is the largest, ULEZ in the UK and will be mirrored in the other major cities.
In this guide, we’re going to answer some of the most popular questions that arise around ULEZ and explain what these zones mean for us as UK motorists.
What does ULEZ mean?
ULEZ stands for Ultra Low Emission Zone. It is an area where vehicles that do not comply with emission standards are required to pay a charge to enter the vicinity. The aim is to improve air quality and reduce pollution by discouraging heavily polluting vehicles from entering the zone.
Does my car meet ULEZ standards?
To comply with ULEZ, petrol cars need to be Euro 4 standard or better, which generally covers vehicles first registered after 2005. Diesel cars need to be Euro 6 standard or better, which generally covers vehicles first registered after 2015.
Which cars are exempt from ULEZ charges?
Any car that meets the emission standards are exempt from the charge. All hybrid and electric cars are exempt from ULEZ charges and produce the lowest level of emissions; you can find out more and view a range of compliant hybrid and electric vehicles here.
There also exemptions available for residents, vehicles for the disabled and taxis. Find out more on the official government website.
Where is the ultra low emission zone?
The ULEZ currently covers a big portion of Central London. Below is a map - the red area illustrates the location of the zone:
What does zero carbon emissions mean?
If a car releases zero carbon emissions, it will not release CO2 or any other harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. Electrics cars do not use any form of fuel so are therefore emission-free.
Do I have to pay the ULEZ charge?
If your car is not compliant with the emission standards, then yes, you will need to pay the ULEZ charge. You can check online if your vehicle is compliant.
How much is the ULEZ charge?
The daily charge is £12.50 for cars, small vans, motorbikes and other lighter vehicles. The cost for lorries, buses, coaches and other heavier vehicles is £100.
How do I pay for ULEZ?
There are multiple ways to pay the ULEZ charge. You can pay online, download the TfL Pay to drive in London app, or pay over the phone to name a few options. Find out all available payment methods here.
How long do I have to pay the ULEZ charge?
You can pay the charge by midnight the day before you travel into the zone, or up to 90 days in advance. This charge will cover you for a full day. Be aware that failure to pay on time could result in a Penalty Charge Notice.
What happens if you don’t pay ULEZ?
If your vehicle is non-compliant and you don’t pay the ULEZ charge, you will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice. This fine is up to £160 for cars, vans and motorcycles.
Are blue badge holders exempt from ULEZ?
There are exemptions for the disabled, but only for a limited time. If you are a blue badge holder, we recommend you check the official TfL website for full details.
Does ULEZ apply on weekends?
Yes, ULEZ charges apply 24/7, every day of the year, excluding Christmas Day.
Can I make my car ULEZ compliant?
There are ways that you can make your car compliant. For example, there is emission reduction technologies that you can employ, such as selective catalytic reduction, or you can replace your engine with one that meets the ULEZ standard. However, note that any retrofit technologies need to be approved by the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) first.
You could also choose to swap your current vehicle for an electric or hybrid one that would be complaint.
Is ULEZ the same as congestion charge?
No, they are two separate charges. You will be required to pay the daily charge if you drive within the Congestion Charge zone between 07:00-18:00, Monday to Friday. If your vehicle is not ULEZ compliant, you must pay the ULEZ charge on top of this.
What happens if you live in the ULEZ?
If you are a resident in the zone and registered for the Congestion Charge discount, you will have a grace period whereby you will not have to pay the ULEZ charge until October 2021. This is to give you time to ensure your vehicle is compliant.