Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ): Explained

London, a bustling metropolis and third largest city in Europe, has been taking significant steps to combat air pollution and reduce its carbon footprint. One of the key initiatives in this endeavour is the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

Launched in 2019 to promote cleaner air and reduce emissions, the ULEZ has been making waves in the city’s transportation landscape. In this article, we will explore the ULEZ in London, its costs, coverage, and important details that every Londoner and visitor should be aware of.

What is the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London?

The ULEZ is a designated area within London where only vehicles meeting strict emission standards are allowed to operate without incurring additional charges. It was introduced to tackle air pollution and improve the quality of the air residents breathe. Within the ULEZ, older and more polluting vehicles are subject to fees, while cleaner, low-emission vehicles can enter without charge.

How much does the ULEZ fee cost?

The ULEZ fee for non-compliant vehicles is £12.50 (daily charge) for most vehicle types, including cars and motorcycles. This charge is applied 24/7, and non-compliance can result in a fine. There is no limit on the number of times you can enter and exit the ULEZ zone per day, but you only pay once.

Map of London ULEZ in 2023

ULEZ map

What is the meaning of Low Emission Zone (LEZ)?

The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) is another environmental initiative in London aimed at reducing emissions from heavy vehicles, including lorries, buses, and larger vans. LEZ standards vary based on vehicle type, and vehicles not meeting these standards are subject to charges. The LEZ covers most of Greater London and is in operation 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Are all vehicles affected by ULEZ?

No, not all vehicles are affected by ULEZ. The ULEZ primarily targets older and more polluting vehicles. The specific requirements and exemptions can change over time, so it’s essential to consult TfL’s official website for the most current information.

In general, newer vehicles that meet stricter emission standards, such as Euro 6 for diesel cars and Euro 4 for petrol cars, are likely to comply with ULEZ requirements.

What is the emissions limit for ULEZ?

The emissions limit for ULEZ was set at Euro 6 for diesel cars and Euro 4 for petrol cars. These Euro standards are used to measure a vehicle’s emissions, with lower Euro numbers indicating cleaner vehicles.

As of September 2023, the ULEZ standards are:

  •     Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category)
  •     Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  •     Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles

Is ULEZ and congestion charges the same thing?

No, ULEZ and congestion charges are not the same. ULEZ primarily focuses on reducing emissions from vehicles, while congestion charges aim to manage traffic congestion in central London during specific hours.

The Congestion Charge applies to central London, while the ULEZ extends to all boroughs within London, excluding the M25 area.

Is there a fine for not paying the ULEZ charge?

Yes, there are penalties for not paying the ULEZ charge or for operating a non-compliant vehicle within the ULEZ boundaries. For cars, vans, motorcycles, motor tricycles and mopeds, this is a £180 charge, which will be reduced to £90 if it’s paid within 14 days. However, if you feel the fine has been wrongly issued, you can challenge it on the TfL portal.

Did the London ULEZ expand in 2023?

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London is a step toward reducing air pollution and promoting cleaner transportation within the city. On 29 August 2023, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expanded across all London boroughs. ULEZ residents are included in this group. Non-compliant vehicles parked inside the zone and not driven on a particular day are not subject to ULEZ charges.

You can check a particular postcode to verify if it falls in the expanded ULEZ zone here.

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Louanne is a marketing and communications professional in the automotive tech industry currently at ClickMechanic, boasting over 5 years of experience.

Louanne’s work at ClickMechanic might revolve around branding and customer engagement, but her passions extend far beyond the marketing sphere. A true foodie at heart, she loves exploring diverse cuisines and talking about her culinary adventures across the world. Her writing prowess shines through in her car-related blog content, where she offers invaluable driving tips and practical car repair advice.

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