Ultra Low Emission Zone: Everything You Need To Know

Author Name – Ben Garner

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London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone was introduced in 2019 in central areas but was recently expanded in October 2021 to almost 18 times bigger than the original zone. The ULEZ will see drivers of polluting cars pay a high price to enter the central parts of London at all hours, every day of the year.

Whilst the ULEZ isn’t an emission test, drivers must identify whether their car falls under the regulations before entering the zone. Here’s everything you need to know about ULEZ and how it will affect you.

What is the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)?

The ULEZ is London’s latest plan to reduce air pollution in the city and meet European standards. It is designed to prevent high congestion levels in the city, by encouraging the public to use more environmentally friendly methods of transport. Drivers in cars that fail to meet the ULEZ standards will receive a £12.50 charge to drive in the zone at any time of the day.


Where is the Ultra Low Emission Zone?

Since the recent expansion of ULEZ, the area now covers the boroughs of:

  • City of London
  • Westminster
  • Camden
  • Haringey
  • Hackney
  • Islington
  • Kensington and Chelsea
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Hammersmith and Fulham

ULEZ also partially covers some other boroughs, such as Lewisham and Redbridge. To find out what areas have the charge in place, you can use the Transport for London Postcode Checker.


Why was ULEZ expanded?

Following the introduction of the original ULEZ zone, nitrogen dioxide emissions had been reduced at the roadside by 44%. This is a significant drop and brought those areas within the legal pollution limits. Therefore, the zone was expanded to attempt to reduce emissions in further regions.


How does ULEZ work?

Drivers of vehicles that do not meet the ULEZ standards will be charged £12.50 to enter ULEZ zones at any time of the day, on any day of the week. Drivers can pay by a number of methods, including online, through an app, or by phone. Drivers who are disabled or work as a taxi can apply for a fee reduction.


Is your car allowed in ULEZ?

To avoid charges, your car must meet the minimum emission standards. For petrol cars, this is Euro 4, and for Diesel cars, it’s Euro 6. To find out if your car meets the emission standards, you can use the Transport for London car check.

Petrol cars that meet ULEZ standards a generally registered with the DVLA after 2005, and Diesel cars that will meet the ULEZ standards are usually registered after 2015.

There is a separate price for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, such as lorries, and coaches over 5 tonnes. Any vehicle that falls into this category will have to pay £100.


When is the charge not in place?

The only day of the year that ULEZ charges are not in effect is on Christmas Day, the 25th of December.


Penalties for non-compliance

If a driver does not pay the ULEZ charge after entering, they will receive a penalty charge of £160. This is reduced to £80 if the driver pays it within 14 days. If a driver fails to pay their penalty fee, they may have to go to court, pay a larger fine and have a mark on their driving record, which is likely to increase insurance prices.


What effect will ULEZ have on you?

The Ultra Low Emission Zone will affect any drivers in London. It is vital to check it your car meets the regulations before driving in the zone, to ensure you don’t have to pay a fine. If you live in London and plan on driving in a ULEZ area, we recommend getting a car that has low emissions and fits within the regulations. For more information on the ULEZ zone, visit the Transport for London website.

To have your exhaust checked for any emission issues, click the button below.

Exhaust Check

We also offer a 10-point-check on your vehicle, in which we’ll check your AdBlue and Engine Coolant, two vital components for reducing emissions. To book a check, click the link below.

10 Point Check

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