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ULEZ Expansion – What This Could Mean for You?

Amelia S, Brand and Content Specialist
Wednesday, 06 October 2021

In April 2019, the ULEZ zone was implemented in central London and operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week except Christmas Day. Between April 2019 and 25 October 2021, the ULEZ zone covered the same area as the Congestion Zone, also found in London, by placing a charge on vehicles entering the zone that aren’t ULEZ compliant. Simply put it means these vehicles don’t meet the low emission requirements of the area. 

From 25 October 2021 this area is growing to sit within the north and south circular roads of London, which means a lot more people are going to be effected by it.

What is ULEZ?

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is active 24/7 except for Christmas day. It currently exists in the same area as the Congestion Charge zone in London, but from 25 October it’s growing quite extensively.

The ULEZ was put in place in April 2019 to help reduce the toxic air that Londoners were breathing daily. It was found that the pollution was increasing the risk of heart and lung disease as well as asthma, and with over 360 schools in the original ULEZ zone the UK government decided to do something to reduce the toxic levels. Which is when the ULEZ was created.

ULEZ Zone

From 25 October 2021 the ULEZ is expanding from central London to create a bigger zone that reaches the North Circular Road (A406) and the South Circular Road (A205) but doesn’t include those roads. Below you will see the ULEZ zone map that shows exactly where this new zone will be.

Map of ULEZ expansion zone
Map of ULEZ expansion zone

Source: TFL, ULEZ map

What is ULEZ compliant

This means that many with a certain type of vehicle will have to pay at least £12.50 to use their vehicle. With this change this leaves many with uncertainty of what to do with their vehicle which doesn’t meet the ULEZ requirements. To find out if your vehicle is compliant, please check on the gov.uk website.

How much is the ULEZ charge

If your vehicle is not ULEZ compliant and you drive through the ULEZ zone, then you could be charged £12.50 per day. This includes vehicles listed in this article, but mainly cars, vans and motorbikes.

If you don’t pay the ULEZ charge the day you entered it, you could face a penalty charge of £160. This will however be reduced if you pay £80 within 14 days of driving through the zone.

With the ULEZ zone expanding so much it’s becoming a worry for many that they will have to drive through the zone daily to go about their daily business. Meaning they could pay £87.50 a week just to drive your vehicle in the ULEZ zone.

If you know you’ll be travelling through the ULEZ zone regularly then to avoid a potential penalty fee, we’d advise you set up a direct debit, or change your vehicle to a ULEZ compliant model.

Is my car ULEZ compliant?

Any car will need to meet the minimum ULEZ emission standards to travel in the zone or the driver will be subjected to a daily £12.50 charge.

The minimum emission standards set out by the government can be seen here. They are based on the declared emissions of the car rather than it’s age and are as follows:

Petrol cars: Euro 4

Petrol cars that are either Euro 4 or above, and therefore meet the ULEZ standards, tend to have been registered after 2005. Please use the gov.uk ULEZ car check to see if your car is compliant. You can also check your V5C which will give you the information you need to know.

Diesel cars: Euro 6

Diesel cars that are either Euro 6 or above, and therefore meet the ULEZ standards, tend to have been registered after September 2015. Which is why you may find yourself more likely to be affected if you have a diesel car, as there are many still on the road registered after 2015. Please check your vehicle on gov.uk to see if it is compliant. You can also check your V5C which will give you the information you need to know.

A parked car

Is my van ULEZ compliant?

If your van fits into any of the following 4 categories then this information will apply to you, and you could end up having to pay a daily £12.50 ULEZ charge:

  • Small vans (weighing up to and including 1,205 tonnes unladen weight)
  • Larger vans, 4×4 utility vehicles, motorised horseboxes, pickups (over 1,205 tonnes unladen weight up to and including 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight)
  • Motorcaravans (2.5 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes)

The minimum emission standards set out by the government can be seen here. They are based on the declared emissions of the van rather than it’s age and are as follows:

Petrol vans: Euro 4

Petrol vans that are either Euro 4 or above, and therefore meet the ULEZ standards, will have been registered from January 2006. Please check your van on gov.uk to see if it is compliant. You can also check your V5C which will give you the information you need to know.

Diesel vans: Euro 6

Diesel vans that are either Euro 6 or above, and therefore meet the ULEZ standards, will have been registered from September 2016. Please check your van on gov.uk to see if it is compliant. You can also check your V5C which will give you the information you need to know.

a van driving in a city

Is my motorbike ULEZ compliant?

If your motorbike fits into any of the following 2 categories then this information will apply to you, and you could end up having to pay a daily £12.50 ULEZ charge:

  • Motorcycles (motorbikes)
  • Mopeds

The minimum emission standards set out by the government can be seen here. They are based on the declared emissions of the van rather than it’s age, and all motorbikes or mopeds will need to meet Euro 3 emissions standards to be ULEZ compliant.

Generally speaking, this means if your vehicle was registered before July 2007 then it will not be ULEZ compliant.  

Please check your motorbike or moped on gov.uk to see if it is compliant. You can also check your V5C which will give you the information you need to know.

Motorbike being driven on a road

What can I do if I have a non-compliant vehicle?

Luckily there are many ways you can get about London easily with trains, tubes, buses and bikes that are all relatively cheap. But if you have a non-compliant ULEZ vehicle already, that doesn’t really help.

The Mayor of London has put in a scrappage scheme. If you own a motorbike or a car then you can scrap them and receive the following payments:

  • £1,000 to scrap a motorbike or moped
  • £2,000 to scrap a car.

Although this is a great idea for those with cars that aren’t worth as much and are owned outright, it doesn’t help you if you have vehicle finance.

If you live in one of London’s 32 boroughs effected by the ULEZ zone expansion, or just need to travel through the zone regularly, then you could also consider changing to a hybrid car or electric vehicle, as these vehicle types are accepted in the ULEZ zone.

Amelia S,Brand and Content Specialist
Bringing you information on how to look after your vehicle, save money and enjoy your life on the road.
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