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What is the ULEZ charge and who has to pay it?

By Mathilda Bartholomew | March 21, 2024

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This comprehensive guide will equip you with all the knowledge you need to understand the ULEZ, avoid unnecessary charges, and explore London in a clean and sustainable way.

What is the ULEZ charge and who has to pay it?

Planning a trip to London? Whether you're a seasoned city explorer or a first-time visitor, navigating the capital can come with its own set of challenges. One such hurdle you might encounter is the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge. But fear not, drivers! This comprehensive guide will equip you with all the knowledge you need to understand the ULEZ, avoid unnecessary charges, and explore London in a clean and sustainable way.

What is the London ULEZ Charge?

The ULEZ, which stands for Ultra Low Emission Zone, is a key initiative by Transport for London (TfL) to combat air pollution within the Greater London area (excluding the M25 motorway).

What is the ULEZ charge and who has to pay it? 

Launched in 2018, the ULEZ zone operates 24/7, every day of the year except Christmas Day. It essentially discourages the use of highly polluting vehicles within the zone by implementing a daily charge.

Who Needs to Pay the ULEZ Charge?

The ULEZ charge applies to any vehicle – car, motorcycle, van (up to 3.5 tonnes), minibus (up to 5 tonnes) – that doesn't meet the minimum ULEZ emission standards. Here's a breakdown:

  • Generally exempt: Petrol cars registered after 2005 and diesel cars registered after 2016 typically meet the ULEZ standards and are exempt from the charge.
  • Pay the ULEZ charge: Vehicles that don't meet the ULEZ standards, such as older petrol cars, pre-2016 diesel cars, and some specialist vehicles, will incur a daily charge of £12.50 (as of March 2024) to drive within the zone.

If you're still confused, you can use Regit's free ULEZ checker to find out if your vehicle is ULEZ compliant and if you need to pay to enter the low emission zone.

How to Check if Your Car Needs to Pay

Before your London adventure, it's crucial to determine if your car is ULEZ-compliant. 

It could not be easier to find out if your vehicle is ULEZ compliant, simply enter your vehicle's REG number into Regit's ULEZ checker to get all the answers you need.

What is the ULEZ charge and who has to pay it? 

Top Tip: Don't wait until the last minute! Checking your car's ULEZ status beforehand saves you time, money, and ensures a smooth journey in London.

Are There Any ULEZ Exemptions and Discounts?

While most vehicles must comply with ULEZ standards, there are a few exceptions:

  • Electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles: These clean-emission vehicles are generally exempt from the ULEZ charge (you can double check here).
  • Motorcycles and mopeds: These two-wheeled vehicles are currently exempt, but this may change in the future, so stay updated.
  • Blue badge holders with certain disabilities: Blue badge holders with specific qualifying disabilities may be exempt until a certain date (currently extended to December 31st, 2025).

How Do I Pay The ULEZ Charge?

If your car doesn't meet ULEZ standards, you'll need to pay the daily charge to drive within the zone. Here's how to make a payment:

  • Online: The TfL website offers a secure online payment portal for ULEZ charges https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/pay-to-drive-in-london.
  • Phone: You can make a payment over the phone by calling the TfL Contact Centre.
  • Auto Pay: Set up Auto Pay to automatically pay any ULEZ charges you incur.

Remember: You have until midnight on the third day following your journey within the ULEZ zone to make a payment. Late payments may result in penalty charges.

By understanding the ULEZ and making informed choices, you can navigate London's vibrant streets while contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment for everyone. So, breathe easy, explore sustainably, and enjoy your London adventure!

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