10 Facts About the ULEZ Zone

tower bridge in London

Launched in April 2019, ULEZ is designed to tackle London’s growing toxic air levels. In an attempt to improve the quality of life amongst the city’s residents, ULEZ is transforming the way we think and use our cars. 

Tighter emission standards have made ULEZ a bugbear for most and a lifeline for others. Operating in the same areas as the current Congestion Charge, some Londoners are struggling to adapt to the changes.

Want more information? Here are 10 facts about the ULEZ zone:

You have to pay £12.50 per day

London is an expensive city to live in without all the extra charges, but safety measures are all part of why it’s such a great place to live. The standard rate for most vehicles is £12.50 per day, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day – all year round. 

Combined with the £15 daily Congestion Charge, you can pay up to £24 to drive around the city between 7 am and 6 pm. 

Electric cars are automatically exempt

As part of their innovative design, electric cars produce zero tailpipe emissions. So naturally, if you already have an electric vehicle, you are currently exempt from the ULEZ charge. Vehicles that don’t meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards have to face the daily charge. 

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So if you travel to the ULEZ zone regularly, it is worth upgrading to a ULEZ-exempt vehicle. If you want to keep costs down, it may be worth taking a look at finance options. 

Euro 6 was introduced in September 2015, so most vehicles registered after this will be exempt from the charge.

Some hybrid users will have to pay the charge

Unlike Electric vehicles, hybrid cars still use a petrol or diesel engine, so they are treated the same as your typical fuel operated vehicle. 

Most petrol-operated hybrids do however comply with the Euro 4 regulations that have been in force since 2006. Minimising emissions, the vast majority of petrol-hybrids are exempt from the ULEZ charge as long as they fall within the Euro 4, 5 or 6 category. 

Diesel-powered hybrids are only ULEZ exempt if they meet the Euro 6 standards. So if you are thinking about buying a hybrid, it’s worth avoiding models that were sold in 2015 or before. This will help you avoid the £12.50 daily ULEZ charge. 

Vintage & historic vehicles are exempt too

Despite not meeting the ULEZ emissions standards, cars that were built more than 40 years ago may not be chargeable. Any vehicle that comes under the historic tax class, as well as agricultural, circus and military, are all wavered from the charge. 

ULEZ is expanding

The ULEZ zone is due to expand from 25th October 2021 to include the North (A406) and South Circular (A205) roads – so keep your eyes peeled for updates. 

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(ULEZ changes: Source)

If your vehicle doesn’t meet the ULEZ emissions standards, you will have to pay the charge regardless of how long or short your trip is. So don’t forget to pay – even if it’s a quick trip to the supermarket! 

Parking your car overnight? Unless you are driving around the ULEZ zone, you don’t have to pay the charge.  

Diesel drivers are the most affected

Undeniably, van drivers are the most affected by the ULEZ charge. Not only are most of the vehicles diesel-powered, but most drivers have to access the city for work daily. To avoid the ULEZ charge, drivers are expected to have the most up to date vehicles that meet the Euro 6 standards. 

In a nutshell:

  • Vans built before September 2016 are unlikely to meet Euro 6 standards
  • Only Euro 6 compliant diesel-powered vans can avoid the ULEZ charge
  • Petrol-operated vans built after 2007 only need to meet Euro 4 standards to avoid ULEZ charges

Motorbikes are taken into account too

Although motorbikes and mopeds are much smaller than their car counterparts, their emissions are still taken into account. To avoid paying the £12.50 daily ULEZ charge, your moped, motorbike or quadricycle much meet the Euro 3 standards. 

Euro 3 became mandatory for motorbikes et al. after July 2007. If you are unsure about when your vehicle was built, refer to your owner’s manual. 

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There’s an AutoPay option

Remembering all the different daily charges is enough to put anyone off! Fortunately, to make things easier, there is a quick and easy AutoPay option. 

In a nutshell:

  • Automatically charged for the days you travel within the Congestion Charge Zone and if your vehicle doesn’t meet the ULEZ standards for emissions
  • No more Penalty Charge Notices
  • You can register up to five vehicles
  • Pay by direct debit or link a payment card
  • Fleet option available for more than 5 vehicles

There is an additional £10 annual registration fee per vehicle, but in the longterm, it makes travelling more simple! 

Air quality is improving

Since its launch in April 2019, air quality has already vastly improved. Exhaust NOx emissions are down by 45% across the zone. Matched with the 44% decrease in roadside NO2, Central London, the ULEZ scheme is definitely making life better throughout the city. 

Those with respiratory problems, the elderly, children and young people are all reaping the benefits!

ULEZ is rolling out nationally

Birmingham, Bath and Manchester are being set up as clean air zones from 2020. So if you have a ULEZ-exempt vehicle already, you will avoid charges there too. 

From 2022, Glasgow will begin implementing charges if vehicles fail to meet minimum emissions standards. 

Be ahead of the change and get your ULEZ standard vehicle ready to avoid the charges. Click here to see if your car is ULEZ friendly. 

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