From today, 8th April 2019, drivers of the most polluting cars and vans entering central London will have to pay £12.50 per day to drive within the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in addition to the Congestion Charge where it applies.
The ULEZ charge, which supersedes the T-Charge, applies to vehicles not meeting the following minimum emissions standards: Petrol Euro 4 and Diesel Euro 6. For vehicle which meet or exceed this criteria, no ULEZ charge is paid.
The ULEZ is enforced based on the declared emissions of the vehicle rather than the age. However, as a general rule, petrol cars that meet the ULEZ standards are generally those first registered with the DVLA after 2005, although cars that meet the standards have been available since 2001. Diesel cars that meet the standards are generally those first registered with the DVLA after September 2015.
The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year (unlike the Congestion Charge which only applies between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday). Non-business drivers can pay any applicable ULEZ charges in advance, on the same day as travel, or by midnight on the charging day after they drove in the zone. Owners of business vehicles can set up an AutoPay account to automate payments, and/or Fleet Auto Pay for fleets of at least five vehicles.
Due to their ultra low or zero emissions, all plug-in hybrids and pure-electric cars and vans do not incur a charge within the new Ultra Low Emission Zone. Indeed, one of the aims of the ULEZ scheme is to further incentivise car buyers to purchase electric vehicles, or, where these are not suitable, the cleanest conventional vehicles on the market as measured by the Euro emissions standards.
Poppy Welch, Head of industry and government backed Go Ultra Low campaign, said: “With the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London, there has never been a better time for drivers to consider making the switch to electric. Offering exemptions from both the Ultra Low Emission and Congestion Charge zones, cheaper running, maintenance and tax costs, as well as a government grant towards the purchase price of zero emission vehicles, switching can not only save money, but also help make a difference to local air quality.”
From 25 October 2021 the ULEZ boundary will be extended to create a single larger zone bounded by the North and South Circular Roads. As with the initial zone, drivers of all petrol or diesel vehicles entering the extended zone and not meeting the emissions standards will need to pay the daily charge. Vehicles using the North and South Circular Roads but not entering the ULEZ will not be charged.
Discounts and exemptions
Residents who are registered for the residents’ Congestion Charge discount are granted a time-limited grace period until 24 October 2021 where a 100% discount from the ULEZ will apply to their vehicles. However, residents using a vehicle that doesn’t meet the T-Charge emissions standards will continue to pay the T-Charge, at a discounted rate of 90%, during the ULEZ resident grace period. From 25 October 2021, all residents must pay the full daily ULEZ charge to drive a vehicle in the zone if it does not meet the ULEZ standards.
Keepers of vehicles registered with a ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicles’ tax class will benefit from a grace period until 26 October 2025 as long as their vehicle doesn’t change tax class. Blue Badge holders will need to pay the charge from 8 April 2019 unless their vehicle meets the new ULEZ emission standards or is registered with the DVLA with a ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicle’ tax class. From 27 October 2025, all vehicles with ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicles’ tax class that do not meet the ULEZ emission standards will be liable for the daily ULEZ charge.