The Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) is coming to London in 2019. Don’t get caught out: read our guide to when it starts, where it is live and how much it costs.
What is the ULEZ?
Like the Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ), the Ultra Low Emissions Zone covers an area of London that drivers to have to pay to travel within. Only those driving, as the name suggests, an ultra-low emission vehicle will be exempt.
Entering the ULEZ costs £12.50 and, unlike the current Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ), the fee applies no matter what time you travel: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The ULEZ will expand in years to come, too.
London ULEZ – where and when
At its inception on April 8 2019, the ULEZ will cover the same area as the current CCZ. It’s a relatively small patch in central London below Camden, cutting through Westminster, to the left of Tower Hamlets and above Southwark. It covers 8.1 square miles and makes up just 1.3 percent of Greater London.
However, the ULEZ will get bigger in October 2021, when the North and South Circular roads will serve as the new boundaries. While the CCZ stops just before Camden, for example, the ULEZ post-October 2021 will cut off part-way into Barnet.
On the Transport for London (TfL) website, it also states that; ‘If you are driving any petrol or diesel vehicle within this enlarged area you will need to meet new tighter emissions standards or pay a daily charge’.
You can check whether your area is affected by entering your postcode on the TfL website.
London ULEZ – which vehicles are affected?
Only petrol cars of or above Euro 4 emissions standard, and diesel cars of or above Euro 6 emissions standard, are exempt from paying the ULEZ charge of £12.50 per day. It also applies to vans, minibuses, coaches, lorries and other heavy vehicles. For motorbikes, it’s Euro 3 or above that is exempt.
Euro 4 became mandatory for all new cars in 2005, while Euro 6 was introduced for all cars and light vans from September 2015 (January 2014 for larger vehicles). Euro 3 came into effect for bikes in 2007.
Some drivers can take comfort from the fact that many older petrol-powered cars will be exempt. Diesel, as ever these days, is having a tough time of it: much newer diesel cars are obliged to pay the ULEZ.
You can check whether your vehicle is compliant by entering your registration on the TfL website.
London ULEZ – how much is it?
The ULEZ charge is £12.50, payable by anyone in a vehicle that isn’t compliant, whatever time of day they enter. It’s £100 per day to enter for non-compliant vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.
A key point to note: the charge doesn’t buy you 24 hours in the ULEZ. The clock restarts at midnight, so if you drive into the zone at 11pm and leave at 3am the next day, you’ll be expected to pay £25 – or £200 if you’re in a non-compliant vehicle over 3.5 tonnes.
What’s more, if you’re in the area when the Congestion Charge is applicable, the ULEZ charge is paid IN ADDITION to the C-Charge. The ULEZ charge does, however, completely replace the current Emissions Surcharge (T-Charge).
As you’d expect, if the fee isn’t paid, a Penalty Charge Notice will be sent out to the registered keeper of the vehicle.
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