What Is London's Ultra Low Emission Zone?

13 Jan 2021

In this article, we discuss what Londonís Ultra Low Emission Zone is, which vehicles it affects and the costs associated with it.

As CO2 emissions have continued to rise over the years, cutting these emissions is becoming nothing but a main priority. Electric vehicles are also becoming increasingly more popular and this is why we are noticing just how much of a damaging effect manual vehicles are having on our environment. 

This is especially true for the capital which has now introduced London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which means that manual vehicle owners with older, more polluting cars will now be charged for the pollution they are causing. Now that the capital is knuckling down on improving CO2 emissions, it’s possible that other larger UK cities, such as Birmingham and Manchester, could follow in their footsteps.
In this article, we discuss what London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone is, which vehicles it affects and the costs associated with it.

What Does the ULEZ Entail?

Introduced by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan on 8th April 2019, London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone was put in place as a replacement for the T-charge (toxicity charge) which was introduced in 2017. The aim of London’s ULEZ is to help improve air quality, meaning vehicles that don’t meet the ULEZ emission standards must pay a fee when driving in the zone. The scheme runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except Christmas Day, and it currently covers all the same areas as the Congestion Charge does which is all of central London. 
However, by 25th October 2021, London will expand its Ultra Low Emission Zone to include a single, larger area (not including the North Circular Road and the South Circular Road). 
Clear road signs indicate the start and end of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone and you can expect to see these signs above or below the Congestion Charge signs. You might be wondering how authorities check whether you have paid the Ultra Low Emission Zone charge or not, but all areas are equipped with number plate recognition cameras which are able to scan each vehicle when entering and exiting the ULEZ and detect each high-emission vehicle using a database.
In preparation, you can see the current ULEZ map here or if you live in London, you can use the Transport For London (TfL) postcode checker to see whether your area is affected by London’s ULEZ.

Will My Vehicle Be Affected By The ULEZ?

The vehicles affected by London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone charge are cars, vans, buses, lorries and motorbikes. However, your vehicle will only come at a cost when driving through central London if it fails to meet the ULEZ emission standards.

Petrol Vehicles

If you own a petrol vehicle that you are planning on driving through London’s ULEZ, it must meet Euro 4 standards which is actually mandatory for all registered petrol cars after January 2006. If your petrol car is newer than 2006, it will meet the ULEZ emission standards so you will only be required to pay the Congestion Charge.
Even though this means that all older cars will most likely be affected by the ULEZ charge, we recommend that you still check the TfL postcode checker as some older cars were made compliant before the Euro 4 standards became mandatory. For example, historical cars that are 40 years old or more only have to pay the Congestion Charge.

Diesel Vehicles

If you drive a diesel vehicle, this must comply with the Euro 6 standards which became mandatory from September 2015. Therefore, if your diesel car is newer than a 2015 model, you are only required to pay the Congestion Charge.

Electric Vehicles

If your vehicle is electric or a hybrid that meets Euro 6 standards and is capable of at least 20 miles of driving with zero-emissions, you can apply for the Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED) which also means you don’t have to pay the Congestion Charge. 
In fact, if you live in London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, you are exempt from having to pay any charges until 24th October 2021 as this gives you enough time to charge your vehicle in order to fit the ULEZ standards.
To find out more information on vehicles that are exempt from the ULEZ charge, you can click here.

How Much Is The Ultra Low Emission Zone Charge?

If you are driving either a car, motorcycle or van through the ULEZ that weighs 3.5 tonnes or under, you will be charged £12.50 per day. However, if your vehicle or lorry weighs more than 3.5 tonnes or you are driving a bus or coach over 5 tonnes, the ULEZ charge will be £100 per day.
When driving through central London, don’t forget that this charge is on top of the Congestion Charge which rose from £11.50 to £15 in June this year. If you fail to pay either of these emission charges by the following evening, the owner of the vehicle will be sent a penalty notice.

Looking To Lease a Low Emission Vehicle?

At Cars2Buy, we compare and offer a range of different personal and business car leasing deals that are right for you and your requirements. These offers come with a minimal upfront charge and a fixed monthly cost. 
We also offer a large selection of low emission vehicle models by the leading manufacturers in the industry. Click here to start browsing for your ideal low emission vehicle today.