ULEZ Explained (Quick and Easy)
Posted on 25th August 2023 at 12:31
You may have heard; as of 29th August 2023, London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is expanding across all London Boroughs. In this post we will explain the reason for ULEZ, how to check if your vehicle meets the standards and how to pay.
Why is London enforcing an Ultra Low Emission Zone?
According to the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, which estimates the impact of key pollutants in London, a change was needed. It stated that road transport is the biggest contributor of nitrogen dioxide in the London air which can be linked to many life-changing illnesses such as: cancer, asthma, and other lung disease.
So, as of April 2019, if you drive into certain parts of London and your vehicle does not match the ULEZ requirements, then you will need to pay a £12.50 daily charge whenever you enter the area.
The idea was to improve air quality by deterring people with older, more polluting vehicles from driving into London. It may also encourage regular London drivers to invest in electric vehicles to reduce pollution overall.
In which areas is ULEZ enforced?
Originally it was only occupying parts of central London, but the plan was always for it to gradually spread out across all of London. In October 2021 it grew to include all areas inside the North and South circular ring roads. This is the case until August 2023 when the ULEZ will expand to almost all areas outside of the M25, meaning that all London boroughs will be affected.
To find out if your home or workplace is affected, you can enter your postcode here:
Is my car ULEZ Compliant?
If you have an older vehicle (pre-2014) then it safe to assume you probably do not meet the standards. However, it is very easy to check by using the registration checker on the TfL website:
My car doesn’t meet the standards… How do I pay?
If you are planning to drive into London, whether it is just once or every day, you will need to register your vehicle on the TfL website. By following the instructions on the payment portal, you can choose to pay in advance for a trip you are planning, or you can pay for a trip you have just completed. It is very important that you pay by midnight on the third day following the journey to avoid getting a fine.
You can also set up “Auto Pay”. Which means you will be billed automatically every month for any charges you may owe (including Congestion Charge) or you can download the TfL Pay to Drive in London App where you can pay your congestion charge, ULEZ charge, check postcodes to see if it is within a charging zone and see your previous journey and payment history.
Are there discounts and exemptions?
Some drivers and vehicles do qualify for a discount or total exemption from the scheme, but this depends on many factors which are explained in more depth in the link below. Possible reasons for exemption or support would be disability or NHS patients unable to use public transport. If you need to drive your car as part of your job, you should check with your employer to see if they offer any support.
This is guide was designed to offer a quick insight into why the ULEZ charge exists and what you need to know if you are planning on driving within London soon. For any other questions and specific information regarding your vehicle, exemption status and other schemes to support London drivers, check out https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone
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