the mayor of London has introduced various charges relating to vehicle emissions over the years
In April 2019, the latest of these – the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was introduced
This year, on the 8th of April, London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) came into action. The new scheme, introduced by London mayor, Sadiq Khan has been developed as a method of improving air quality and pollution, across the city.
Since its introduction, other major cities such as Birmingham and Manchester have begun forming plans to replicate the strategy, persuading the public to actively use cars with low emissions when driving in busy, urban areas.
The zone replaces the prior London T-Charge introduced in 2017, which applied to diesel and petrol vehicles registered before 2006. The T-Charge added an extra £10 charge to the already existing congestion charge zone, but has since been replaced.
What does it mean?
In short, the new ULEZ policy means owners of older, more polluting vehicles will be charged additional costs upon entry to certain parts of the city centre.
As with the previous T-Charge, ULEZ now covers the area already protected by the congestion charge. The boundary that formerly marked this area however, is now planned to expand to the North Circular and South Circular roads, across October 2021.
Road signs situated alongside existing congestion charge notices clearly indicate the start of the ULEZ regulations and are featured at every entry point along its boundary, ensuring minimal confusion upon admission.
If you're planning on driving in London, but aren't sure whether you'll need to pass by the zone or not, you can use the Transport for London Postcode Checker to find out whether your prospective route/destination lies inside the regulations of ULEZ.
What vehicles will be affected?
All cars, motorbikes, vans, buses, coaches and lorries will be affected by the new rules, however charges will only apply to models that don't meet specific emissions standards.
All petrol vehicles must meet Euro 4 standards. This standard became mandatory for all cars produced after January 2006, meaning the majority of vehicles on our road meet this. Though it does mean, if you're a proud owner of an old-school Mazda MX-5, we've got some bad news for you…
Contrastingly, diesel models must comply with Euro 6 - another standard that has become mandatory, but only since September 2015. These improvements therefore mean all Euro 0-3 petrols and 0-5 diesels will now need to pay the charge.
Despite these rules, if you're an owner of a vehicle deemed historic by the government (40 years+), yours may be exempt from ULEZ payment, but will still need to pay congestion charges if passing the margins.
How much will it cost me?
Your charges will vary depending on your mode of transport and its categorical weight.
Car, motorcycles and vans weighing up to 3.5 tonnes will be charged £12.50 per day to pass these areas for example. Heavier vehicles, including lorries over 3.5 tonnes and buses/coaches over 5 tonnes, will instead be charged £100.
Any ULEZ charge is in addition to the current £11.50 congestion charge also, meaning fees can quickly add up – especially as the zone operates 24/7. Subsequently, this means if you drive in the ULEZ area across two days, you will need to pay twice.
So, if you're often driving within these congested areas and have a vehicle that requires payment – it's probably time to consider an upgrade.