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The Ultra-Low Emission Zone Explained!

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone Explained!

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will come into force in April 2019.  It sets new emissions standards to meet for vehicles travelling into central London. Those vehicles which do not comply with these standards will need to pay a charge.

What is the ULEZ?

The ULEZ aims to reduce the number of polluting vehicles in the centre of London by charging those vehicles which do not meet certain emissions standards.  It is hoped this charge will encourage visitors to central London to choose a more environmentally friendly vehicle, or to use public transport. 

" ... I am pleased to confirm that from 8th April 2019, stricter standards for diesel vehicles will apply 24/7 across central London.  This builds on the success of the T-Charge and is part of my comprehensive plan to clean London's air.

I've taken the bold action we need to protect our children, but we now urgently need the Government to step up and provide the support to Londoners and businesses required to help them meet these crucial standards"

London Mayor - Sadiq Khan

The ULEZ will begin on 8th April 2019.  This is a year earlier than planned in an effort to improve London’s air quality.  It will replace the London T-Charge introduced in October of this year.

Read more: What is the London T-Charge?

Which areas are covered by the ULEZ?

The area affected by this charge is the same as the Congestion Zone and the T-Charge the ULEZ will be replacing, for now.  The area can be seen in the map below.  If you would like to check a specific postcode, an online tool allows you to do this – ULEZ Postcode Checker 

congestion zone area

In the future there are plans to extend the ULEZ to the whole of inner London for all vehicles and across the whole of London for buses, coaches and lorries.  Increasing the area covered will only come into force once a consultation process has taken place.

Although the area of the ULEZ will be familiar, the ULEZ charge will apply at different times.  Currently the Congestion Charge and T-Charge only apply Monday to Friday, 8am – 6pm.  The ULEZ will apply 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Signposts will clearly signal to drivers when they are entering into the ULEZ zone.  There will be no barriers or toll booths, cameras will record the number plate of every vehicle entering the zone and check for compliance. 

Which emissions standards will my vehicle need to meet to be ULEZ compliant?

The emissions standards are much tougher than the London T-Charge standards for diesel drivers.  If you are driving a petrol vehicle the emissions standard you must meet is the same as the T-Charge, at Euro 4.  If you are driving a diesel vehicle you must now meet Euro 6 standards, this is tougher than the Euro 4 standard the London T-Charge required.

Read more: Find An Electric Vehicle To Suit Your Budget

It is thought the London T-Charge will affect 6,500 vehicles in the centre of London every day.  With the new emissions standards of the ULEZ it is estimated around 60,000 vehicles per day will be affected.

If you are unsure which Euro emissions standard your vehicle meets, you can check using on online tool whether you will need to pay the ULEZ charge when travelling into London – ULEZ Vehicle Registration Checker.

How much is the ULEZ charge for a non-compliant vehicle?

The ULEZ has 2 different levels of payment for non-compliant vehicles

  • £12.50 per day for cars, vans, and motorcycles
  • £100 per day for lorries, buses, and coaches

If your vehicle is non-compliant and you have not paid the ULEZ charge, the registered keeper of the vehicle will receive a Penalty Charge Notice.  The number plate of every vehicle entering the ULEZ is checked for compliance and payment if necessary. 

The value of this will depend upon the type of vehicle.  For all motorbikes, cars and vans the charge will be £130 which can be reduced to £65 if paid within 14 days.  For large vehicles such as lorries, buses and breakdown vehicles who pay the higher £100 rate, the charge for failing to pay will be £1000, this can be reduced to £500 if paid within the first 14 days.

 London T-Charge - began 23rd October 2017 ULEZ - will begin 8th April 2019
Emissions standard your vehicle must meet to avoid paying the charge  Euro 4 for both petrol and diesel vehicles  Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles Euro 4 for petrol cars Euro 6 for diesel cars  Euro 6 for lorries, motorised horse boxes, breakdown and recovery vehicles, fire engines, road sweepers buses and coaches
Hours of operation Monday to Friday 7am-6pm, excluding bank holidays 24 hours a day every day of the year
Charge for non compliant vehicles  £10  £12.50 for cars, vans and motorbikes £100 for buses coaches and lorries
Exemptions   90% discount for residents and 100% discount for blue badge hodlers and emergency vehicles A 3 yeat sunset period will apply for residents to allow more time to change to a ULEZ compliant vehicle.  After this time the charge will apply  

The drivers who will be most affected will be those who currently have a Euro 4 or Euro 5 diesel vehicle.  These drivers will currently be paying the Congestion Charge of £11.50 every day they wish to travel into Central London, but meet emissions standards for the T-Charge so do not have to pay this.  When the ULEZ charge comes into force, this driver will also have to pay this charge – Congestion Zone Charge of £11.50 + ULEZ of Charge £12.50 = £24 per day of travel in Central London.

Do you think the ULEZ charge will work to reduce air pollution in London - or punish those who cannot afford to upgrade their vehicle?

The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.

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