The London Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is expected to extend from central to the North Circular and South Circular roads starting 25th of October 2021. Drivers whose vehicles don’t fit the requirements will have to pay a fee for entering it. In this blog, we will explain how to check whether your car meets the ULEZ standards and how to pay the fee if it doesn’t.
Who is affected by ULEZ?
ULEZ affects petrol vehicles that don’t meet Euro 4 emission standards or Euro 6 for diesel vehicles. That means that the majority of petrol cars registered after 2005 and diesel cars registered after 2015 aren’t likely to pay ULEZ charge. According to TfL, seven in ten vehicles in London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone already fit the requirements and don’t have to pay the fee. If you would like to check your car, use this tool from TfL to learn if ULEZ charge applies to your vehicle.
Where does ULEZ begin?
Currently, the ULEZ zone overlaps the Congestion Charge zone in central London. However, from 2021 the zone will be expanded and cover everything within the North and South Circular Roads. It’s important to note that vehicles using the North and South Circular Roads without entering the zone will not be charged. Use this postcode search to see whether the address of your destination is in ULEZ.
When does ULEZ operate?
ULEZ applies 24/7 all year with no exceptions. A daily charge operates from midnight to midnight. This means that driving to an Ultra-Low Emission Zone at 11pm Friday and departing at 2am Saturday would result in two daily fees.
How much does the ULEZ entry cost?
You need to pay a £12.50 daily charge if you drive within the ULEZ. If you set up Auto Pay the price will go down to £11.50 per charge.
How to pay ULEZ charge?
You can pay ULEZ charge online on a pay as you go basis or subscribe for automatic payments. They give you the option to pay for current, future, and, in some cases, past dates. You can use the TfL website for payments or install the official Pay to Drive in London application for iOS or Android.
Be aware that if you don’t pay on time, you will get a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). If you fail to pay it within two weeks – it will be doubled from £80 to £160.
You can also register to set up automatic payments (Auto Pay) for £10 per vehicle. That way your balance will be automatically charged on the days when you enter ULEZ. It will also give you a discount of one pound per day, meaning you will pay £11.50 instead of £12.50 per charge.
How to set up ULEZ Auto Pay?
To register for Auto Pay you will need to visit the official TfL page and create a London Road User charging account. Next, you will be asked to share your vehicle registration details and bank or payment card details. The £10 registration charge will be applied yearly for each vehicle. You can add a maximum of five vehicles to Auto Pay. If you have six or more vehicles, you can set up Fleet Auto Pay.
How to get a ULEZ discount?
If you live within the Congestion Charge residents’ discount zone, you may be eligible for the 90% ULEZ discount. Check your address here to check if you can apply. Other discounts are also available for vehicles for disabled people, taxis, private hire, historic vehicles, and showman’s and not-for-profit minibuses.
Future of ULEZ in the UK
It’s fair to say that clean air zones will be on the rise in the UK within the next five years. Aberdeen, Bath, Birmingham, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Greater Manchester, and Leeds are aiming to implement restrictions in some form between 2020 and 2023.
Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Gateshead, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Oxford, Sheffield, and York are holding discussions on improving the air quality. With the biggest cities joining the movement, low emission zones will reduce the pollution across the country and become the new norm for its citizens.