London’s ULEZ expansion: the charges, exemptions and facts
In 2019 London’s ULEZ (Ultra Low Emissions Zone) scheme came into effect for Central London. This created a focused area that discouraged high emission cars who must pay a daily charge to enter, and encouraged low emission cars who could drive freely. More recently, on Monday 25th October 2021, changes were made to the scheme; expanding the originally centralised zone to cover a wider area of the city. Here we explore the details of the ULEZ charges, changes, and whether your private hire or delivery vehicle might be affected.
This information is correct at the time of writing on 28 October 2021.
Previously focused on just central London roads (white circle above), the ULEZ scheme has now expanded to cover a wider area of London. The borders of the new zone are now defined by the North Circular Road and the South Circular Road.
What are the charges?
A charge of £12.50 will apply to drivers for each day they drive within the zone. This is in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with the only exception being Christmas Day (25th of December). The charge only applies to vehicles that don’t meet ULEZ standards; these are guidelines put in place to determine the carbon emissions produced by your vehicle.
Does my car meet the ULEZ standards?
It is a common misconception that the age of your car is the main measure of motor eco-efficiency. In fact, minimum emission standards are actually based on the declared emission of the vehicle. TFL advises:
- Petrol cars that meet 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
Is my car exempt from ULEZ charges?
Whether you drive a car, van, moped, motorbike, or lorry there is a requirement that your vehicle must meet in order to be exempt from the ULEZ charges. To check if your vehicle meets these requirements visit the TFL website here.
Am I exempt as a professional driver?
A few groups of drivers and vehicles are exempt from the charges; including, but not limited to, vehicles transporting people with disabilities, minibusses used for community transport, and some non-profit-owned operations who use vehicles, can all travel freely within the zone.
A key group of drivers that are also exempt is London-licenced taxi drivers. There are vehicle requirements that have to be met, but on the whole traditional taxis can operate free of charge. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include private hire drivers like those working for Uber or Lyft.
I live in London; will I be charged?
No – with one exception. If you live within the ULEZ and your car does not meet the necessary requirements, you will be charged for each 24 hour period your car is driven. However, if your car is parked within the zone and not used for a 24 hour period you will not be charged.
How can I avoid the ULEZ charges?
Go green! As we see in the news, eco-friendly cars are the future. Electric vehicles are expected to be the primary vehicle on our roads within the next 10-15 years. Whilst ULEZ charges don’t dictate you use a fully electric vehicle, it might make sense for private hire drivers and delivery drivers to consider the move to electric or hybrid vehicles. As a result, you would avoid both the ULEZ charge and potentially any future ones for diesel and petrol vehicles.
Delivery drivers can alternatively consider utilising retrofit emissions reduction technology. Approved for some vehicles, this emission reduction vehicle add-on could save you from getting a new delivery vehicle right away. Please note: it does need to be certified by the government Clean vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS).
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