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London ULEZ Daily Charge, Location and Expansion

London ULEZ daily charge, payment options and area of operation summarised as the city works to reduce pollution.

The London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) minimises the traffic pollution that causes health issues and damages the planet. Motorists pay a daily charge to enter the ULEZ if their vehicle has high emissions. The purpose of the charge is to encourage you to pick a less polluting vehicle that gets in for free or use public transport.

ULEZ Charge

The London ULEZ charge applies 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The only exception is December 25th. You will be charged to enter if your vehicle does not meet its related emission standard, such as if you drive a Euro 6 diesel powered car, for instance. Or Euro 4 for a petrol car. The Transport for London website enables you to enter your vehicle’s registration number to establish whether you have to pay.

The charge is £12.50 per day for most vehicles. This includes a car, van, motorbike, or van up to 3.5 tonnes. The charge rises to £100 for heavier vehicles such as a lorry over 3.5 tonnes, a bus over 5 tonnes, or a coach over 5 tonnes. To be clear, there is no charge to enter in any such vehicle if it has low enough emissions.

New ULEZ Map

As of 29th August 2023, the ULEZ area is being expanded again despite opposition from those who live in the area. The new ULEZ boundaries will cover the full Greater London area. Although the geographical area is changing, the charge and the conditions of compliance are staying the same.

London ULEZ Expansion 2023 map

How to pay ULEZ charge

The London ULEZ operates via a system that scans your vehicle’s number plate, calculates its emissions, then charges you if necessary. If convenient, you can pay manually per trip via the Transport for London website. Do so by midnight on the third day after a journey or up to 90 days ahead. Alternatively, use ‘auto pay’ if you prefer a single monthly payment that covers every trip.

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ULEZ Is in Operation: Here's What You Need to Know About London's Ultra Low Emission Zone

Introduction to the ULEZ

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was introduced by Transport for London (TfL) in April 2019 as part of the city's efforts to improve air quality. The ULEZ is a designated area in central London where vehicles are required to meet certain emissions standards to avoid a daily charge. The aim is to reduce the levels of harmful pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM), which contribute to poor air quality and have negative impacts on public health.

ULEZ Is in Operation: Here's What You Need to Know About London's Ultra Low Emission Zone Image 1

ULEZ Boundary and Times of Operation

The ULEZ covers the same area as the Congestion Charge zone in central London. It operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including weekends and public holidays. The boundary is marked by signs with the letters 'ULEZ' and a dashed red circle.

Vehicle Emissions Standards

To avoid the ULEZ daily charge, vehicles must meet certain emissions standards. Petrol cars, vans, minibuses, and motorcycles must meet the Euro 4 emissions standard or higher, while diesel cars, vans, minibuses, and motorcycles must meet the Euro 6 emissions standard or higher. Non-compliant vehicles must pay a daily charge of £12.50 for cars, vans, and motorcycles, and £100 for buses, coaches, and HGVs.

Check if Your Vehicle is ULEZ Compliant

To check if your vehicle is ULEZ compliant, you can use our free ULEZ & CAZ checker. Simply enter your vehicle registration number to find out if you need to pay the daily charge. You can also check the emissions standard of your vehicle by looking at the V5C registration certificate or contacting the manufacturer.

Exemptions and Discounts

Some vehicles have either a temporary or permanent exemption from ULEZ charges. Disabled passenger vehicles, wheelchair accessible vehicles and those on disability benefits have a grace period until 27th October 2027. London-licensed taxis don't have to pay ULEZ charges provided they're under 12 years old - or 15 years old if they're lower-emission vehicles. There are also exemptions or reimbursements available for businesses, charities, community vehicles and NHS patients - for the full breakdown of all of the above please read the TFL website.

Impact of the ULEZ

Since its introduction in April 2019, the ULEZ has had a positive impact on air quality in central London. According to TfL, there has been a 44% reduction in roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in the zone, and an estimated 13,500 fewer polluting vehicles being driven in the zone each day. The ULEZ is expected to continue to improve air quality and public health in London.

ULEZ Is in Operation: Here's What You Need to Know About London's Ultra Low Emission Zone Image 2

Ways to pay the ULEZ fee

Making payment is easy enough, but you only get until midnight the following day to give Transport for London your money. The easiest way to cover payments for both the Congestion Charge and the ULEZ fee is to set up automatic payments at the TfL Auto Pay website. For an annual fee of £10 per vehicle, you’ll never need to remember to pay either charge as it’ll be debited from a card automatically.

Occasional users might be better served with the TfL Pay to drive in London app that’s available at both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store. You’ll be able to check vehicle eligibility here, look at exactly which roads are covered, and make payments for each charge. Congestion charge online payments can also be made at TfL’s Pay to Drive in London website.

Can I avoid the fee?

Disabled drivers with a vehicle registered in the 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicles' tax classes will be exempt until 26 October 2025. Importantly, simply having a blue badge does not exempt a vehicle owner from paying the charge.

Find out if your car is exempt from ULEZ charges

Other than driving a compliant car, not really. Of course, even driving something that’s eligible now is no guarantee for the future as emissions regulations tighten and control becomes stricter.

Ensuring your car meets the latest ULEZ 2021 emission regulations means you’ll escape the clutches of the congestion charge. Helpfully, many manufacturers are offering scrappage schemes to those trading in older non-compliant vehicles, with Kia knocking up to £2,500 off selected models, while MG will provide as much as £2,000 towards the newly-revised 3 model.

ULEZ Is in Operation: Here's What You Need to Know About London's Ultra Low Emission Zone Image 3

Switching to a zero emission vehicle is the only sure-fire way to avoid increasingly restrictive or expensive ULEZs, either in London or beyond, with a number of more affordable electric cars now available. The Kia e-Niro will escape both the London ULEZ and Congestion Charge, and provide up to 282-miles of emissions free motoring, while Hyundai’s Kona Electric gets a near-identical 279-mile range. MG’s new ZS EV arrives soon, providing a more budget conscious SUV proposition, while a range of Volkswagen, Audi and SEAT electric cars are arriving, covering everything from city cars to luxury SUVs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone, often shortened to ULEZ, is an area of London, within the inner ring road where you are charged daily for driving a high-emission vehicle. Most non-electric cars pay £12.50 per day, with heavier vehicles reaching up to £100. This initiative was designed to reduce pollution.

It’s not an exact marker, but if your car is a diesel-powered model and built before September 2015, then it’s likely you’ll have to pay the fee. Likewise, driving a petrol-powered model built before 2005 is also likely to be chargeable.

It’s all to do with the specific emissions regulations your car meets. Diesels need to meet Euro 6 standard, while petrol driven cars only need to meet Euro 4. However, to confuse matters, some cars met the Euro 4 standards as long ago as 2000.

There are also separate regulations for motorcycles and trucks, while classic car drivers can rejoice; vehicles built before 1979 with historical vehicle tax status are entirely exempt.

The simplest way of finding out if your car will be hit by the ULEZ charge is with your vehicle registration number.

Although it may be possible to change from a non-compliant engine to a compliant one, the cost of the upgrade and recertifying is likely to be prohibitive.

The most straightforward way of finding out whether you must pay ULEZ is by checking via your registration number. If you enter the zone, you will have to pay by midnight on the third day. Otherwise, you might be risking a penalty charge notice of about £160.

CAZ stands for Clean Air Zone.