London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

You may have heard of the term ULEZ but aren't sure what it exactly means. We have all the answers for you in this guide.

London's Ultra Low Emission Zone - abbreviated to ULEZ - was launched in 2019 to improve the air quality in the capital. The plans were originally introduced in 2015 by at-the-time London Mayor, Boris Johnson.

The current Mayor, Sadiq Khan, took over from Johnson in 2016, and he has since admitted that he adopted the original idea as he felt it was the best way to help reduce emissions in the city.

In 2020, research was conducted to see how much the introduction of ULEZ has helped carbon emissions; in just a year, it had already helped to reduce roadside nitrogen dioxide levels by 44%.

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Since October 2021, the ULEZ has spread across London, with the zone currently covering all areas within the North and South Circular Roads. The North Circular (A406) and South Circular (A205) roads are not in the zone.

However, that will all change from 29 August 2023, as it will move to cover all London boroughs, which will mark a historic landmark achievement; it's a scheme that is also getting trialled in other parts of the UK.

When does ULEZ apply?

The ULEZ applies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year except Christmas Day (25 December ).

Which vehicles are affected by ULEZ?

Vehicles that don't meet the emissions standards below must pay the daily ULEZ charge.


If you own a petrol car, provided it was registered with the DVLA after 2005, you should be fine. Some vehicles have met the standard registered since 2001, so it's worth checking to see what yours falls under.

Diesel cars registered after 2015 typically meet the standards too, but again, it's worth checking so you aren't stung next time you plan on driving through one of London's boroughs.


If you drive a petrol van, as long as it was registered after 2006 it should be good to go. For diesel, any registered after 2016 should meet the standard. If you drive a van, lorry or HGV weighing more than 3.5 tonnes, you do not need to pay the charge.


If you ride a motorcycle registered with the DVLA after July 2007, you should avoid paying the charge.


Can I check my vehicle?

You can quickly check if your car meets emissions standards by visiting the Transport for London (TfL) vehicle checker. This will not only help you to know whether you need to pay the ULEZ charge but also the London Low Emission Zone and congestion charge.

How much does ULEZ cost?

If your vehicle does not meet the ULEZ standards, you should expect to pay £12.50 per day.

Does the congestion charge still need to be paid?

If you drive in London and have to pay the ULEZ charge, you should be warned that doesn't make you exempt from having to pay the congestion charge, which is very much still in play.

What happens if I don't pay ULEZ?

If your vehicle doesn't meet the emissions standard and you don't pay the ULEZ charge, you will get fined £160 - or £80 if paid within 14 days. TfL uses Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras to identify entry to a zone.

How do I pay for ULEZ?

If you need to pay the ULEZ fee, there are several options available to you:

  • Online - You can register your car for autopay on the TfL website, which will charge you automatically every time you enter a zone. There's also a £10 admin fee to pay annually.
  • The app - The TfL Pay to Drive in London can be downloaded onto your smartphone.
  • By telephone - You can call 0343 222 2222


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Is there government support to buy a vehicle that meets emissions standards?

A scheme to help you to scrap your vehicle is available to those with disabilities or low income in any of London's boroughs. The scheme pays you £2,000 to scrap a car or £1,000 to scrap a motorcycle that doesn't meet ULEZ standards.


What are ULEZ requirements?

ULEZ requirements are regulations set out by the local government to reduce carbon emissions in London's air. Its aim is to give Londoners a better quality of life and encourage people to switch to more efficient vehicles.

What vehicles are not allowed in ULEZ?

From 2021, all vehicles that don't meet the ULEZ standards are not permitted to drive within these areas without paying a daily charge. It includes most petrol cars and vans registered before 2006 and diesel vehicles registered before 2015.