London's Ultra Low Emission Zone: Explained!

Oct 15, 2019

London's Ultra Low Emission Zone: Explained!

Earlier this year, a new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) came into effect around central London in order to reduce emissions in the very busy city.

The ULEZ will work alongside the congestion charge that is currently running in the inner city at £11.50 daily charge for driving a vehicle within the charging zone between 07:00 - 18:00, Monday to Friday.

Where is London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone?

The ULEZ applies to the same area as the already existing London congestion charge area which is located in London’s inner ring road:

What time is the ULEZ active?

London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone will operate 24/7 every single day of the year.

This is a dramatic change to what London drivers are used to as the congestion charge only operates 07:00 - 18:00, Monday to Friday and doesn’t operate on public holidays and between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

How much does it cost to drive in the ULEZ?

The fee for the ULEZ is £12.50 per day for passenger cars: this is on top of the existing £11.50 per day for the congestion charge (a total of £24!)

If you drive a larger vehicle (3.5 tonnes or over) or a large lorry than you will have to pay £100 per day, on top of the congestion charge.

Do I have to pay for the ULEZ?

Most vehicles (cars, vans, motorbikes and lorries) need to meet the ULEZ emissions standards in order to avoid paying the fee, otherwise, drivers must pay the daily charge to drive within the zone. The ULEZ standards are as follows:

  • Motorbikes, mopeds, motorised tricycles or quadricycles= Euro-3 Classification
  • Petrol cars, vans and minibuses= Euro-4 Emission Standards
  • Diesel cars, vans and minibuses= Euro-6 Emission Standards
  • Lorries, buses and coaches= Euro VI

Are there penalties in the ULEZ?

If you fail to pay your ULEZ charge, then you will be fined with a penalty up to £160, however, if you pay the fine within 14 days, it will be reduced to £80.

For large lorries and vehicles 3.5 tonnes or over, the penalty fee £1,000, but reduced to £500 if you pay the fine within 14 days.

Can I get a Discount from the ULEZ?

Some drivers are entitled to exemption from the ULEZ or are qualified for a discount:

  • Residents
  • Taxis
  • Vehicles for disabled people
  • Private hire vehicles
  • Not for-profit minibuses
  • Historic vehicles

For more information on discounts and exempt, visit the website.

The Future for ULEZ

From October 2020 the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards will be much tighter for larger vehicles in order to improve London’s air.

Currently, the LEZ standards are based on the amount of particulate matter your vehicle emits. These particles play a part in asthma, lung and heart disease and other respiratory illnesses.

In fact, road transport is the biggest source of emissions damaging health in London: around half of emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) come from transport and contribute to illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) and particulate matter.

Not only should the new implementation of ULEZ help reduce these figures and benefit London, but the new LEZ standards should also help reduce the amount of toxic pollution in the air and help make London an all-round healthier city.

The new LEZ standards from 26th October 2020 are as follows:

  • Buses and coaches over 5 tones, lorries and other specialist vehicles over 3.5 tonnes= Euro VI
  • Larger vans and minibuses= Euro 3 for particulate matter

If you are driving a larger vehicle within the ULEZ area, then you will also need to pay the ULEZ charge if you do not meet their standards.

To find out more information about London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone, visit

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