Steeped in history, culture, and incredible sights, London is one of the greatest cities on Earth. With that comes the unexpected fees. The hidden charges that make living in London all the more expensive.
The daily living costs are at an all-time high across the UK, and some industry’s and individuals are taking the biggest hit out of them all. In any one day, Central London’s population swells to over 10 million people. Commuters, drivers and residents are all in that figure.
So, what are the fees you need to pay to drive in London? Here’s our rundown:
Most vehicles travelling within London’s Congestion Charge Zone will have to pay the £15 daily fee. The charge can be paid on the day or in advance of travel, or up to 3 days after at a higher rate of £17.50.
- You will have to pay the Congestion Charge between 7 am and 10 pm, seven days a week, except Christmas Day
- Pay online, over the phone or via AutoPay
- Failing to pay will incur a £160 fine
- Discounts are available for certain vehicles via ULED (Ultra Low Emissions Discount)
Like most schemes, some drivers are exempt from the Congestion Charge. This includes most disabled drivers, motorbikes, mopeds and bicycles.
Where is the Congestion Charge Zone?
Currently, the Congestion Charge Zone covers the area within the London Inner Ring Road. This includes both the City of London’s main financial district and the West End. Although there is little heavy industry within this area, delivery drivers and essential workers will have to drive through these areas daily.
The area is clearly marked out with signage throughout, and failing to pay will incur a fine.
ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) Charge
Feeling the financial pinch of travelling around the big city yet? The ULEZ operating area covers the same stretch as the Congestion Charge Zone. So, your day’s trip around the city is going to cost you an additional £12.50 on top if your vehicle doesn’t fit the ULEZ standards criteria.
ULEZ was rolled out in April 2019 to improve air quality for the city’s growing population. To protect the vulnerable; those with respiratory problems, the elderly, and the youth of London, ULEZ is a government initiative which aims to increase the quality of life.
A lifeline for many and a financial burden for others, the ULEZ has become one of the city’s most topical discussions. Here’s what you need to know:
- ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round except for Christmas Day
- ULEZ covers the same area of Central London as the Congestion Charge
- Drivers that do not meet the ULEZ emissions standards have to pay the daily charge to travel within the zone
- Cars, motorcycles and vans (up to and including 3.5 tonnes) pay £12.50
- Heavier vehicles, including lorries (over 3.5 tonnes) and coaches/buses (over 5 tonnes) pay £100
ULEZ is set to expand
Statistically, the Ultra Low Emission Zone is working. Air quality has improved dramatically since it’s launch in 2019 with harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels already reduced by 44% since 2017. With this in mind, the government have decided to roll out a larger ULEZ area from 25th October 2021.
The larger ULEZ zone will cover most of Greater London and will be bordered by the North Circular Road (A406) and the South Circular Road (A205.)
You can view the 2021 ULEZ expansion map here.
Residents, commuters and essential drivers will be expected to pay the ULEZ charge if they fail to meet the emissions standards for their vehicle. So don’t get caught out! Get ready for the expansion and plan your daily travel ahead of time.
Parking your car overnight
ULEZ is only chargeable if you intend to travel within the ULEZ zone. So if you are parking your car overnight, or for an extended period of time outside your residence or office, no fee has to be paid.
However, if you need a quick trip to the supermarket or to get petrol and your route goes through the ULEZ zone, you will have to pay the £12.50 daily charge.
Like the Congestion Charge, there is an AutoPay facility available for the ULEZ charge. Easy to use, you’ll never forget a payment again. Plus, with the city’s innovative vehicle recognition technology dotted around, you’ll only be charged when you travel. Failing to pay the ULEZ charge will incur a penalty fee of £160.
Be motor smart. These fees are here to stay, so plan ahead of your journey to avoid penalty notices.