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What is the Ultra Low Emission Zone?

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November 15th 2022 news info

On the 8th of April 2019, London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) came into action. The new scheme, introduced by London mayor Sadiq Khan, was 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 replaced 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 ULEZ policy means owners of older, more polluting vehicles are now 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 originally marked this area was then expanded to the North Circular and South Circular roads, across October 2021, and there has been a new proposal for ULEZ to expand to cover all of Greater London from the end of August 2023. Essentially, ULEZ will then replace all of the current low emission zone. A third of London drivers could be affected by the new zone as of 2023, according to the AA.

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 are affected by the low emission zone?

All cars, motorbikes, vans, buses, coaches and lorries are affected by the new ULEZ rules, however charges will only apply to models that don't meet specific emissions standards.

What are ULEZ standards?

The official TFL guidelines are that 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 it. Though it does mean that 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. However, you’ll still need to pay congestion charges, if passing the margins.

How much will it cost me?

The charges 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, 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. At findandfundmycar.com, we have a huge selection of used cars from trusted dealerships – it’s the perfect place to start.

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