How to avoid the ULEZ cameras


If you want to know how to avoid the ULEZ cameras in London – for whatever reason – then here is our advice.

It might be that you don't want to enter the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone by accident and get a penalty charge.

Or you might decide that on principle you don't agree with the ULEZ.

Or if you simply want to avoid the cameras so you can avoid the paying charge.

Whatever your reason, here are some ways to avoid ULEZ cameras.

Driving in the congestion charge zone

If you drive in the congestion charge zone five days a week with an old, inefficient car that doesn't meet the new standards set by government legislation, then it will cost more than £550 every month to drive into central London.

If you don't want the financial burden, here's what we suggest.

  • You could move into the ULEZ zone and walk or cycle to work
  • Drive a vehicle that meets the ULEZ standards
  • Pay the daily charge – but not drive in every day
  • Use public transport, or cycle or walk.

Drivers need to understand that ULEZ cameras are located at the entrances and exits of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London. 

If you're driving a vehicle that doesn't meet the ULEZ standards, you'll need to pay a daily charge.

However, the cameras aren't on EVERY entry and exist.

TfL doesn't publish a list of camera locations, so you'll need to research where they are – and avoid paying the charge.

Tip to avoid the ULEZ cameras

Our first tip to avoid the ULEZ cameras is to use a smartphone app.

There are a few smartphone apps around that can help you avoid the cameras.

These apps are quite effective and will warn you when you're approaching a camera, so you can take an alternative route.

One of the best apps for avoiding ULEZ cameras is Waze.

The app will alert drivers to steer clear of the ULEZ by highlighting they are about to enter it.

When using an app, make sure you have the latest version installed and that the app is up to date with the latest camera locations.

Other tips to avoid the ULEZ cameras

It's one thing using a smartphone app, but you could also consider renting a parking space to avoid the cameras.

You could rent a space outside of the ULEZ zone so you can commute into work every day without paying the charge.

Having a car isn't always necessary when living in London and renting an affordable parking spot might be a cheap solution.

Even better, if you want to avoid ULEZ charges, it's best not to drive into work every day. 

Instead, rent an affordable parking space outside of the zone and commute in only when needed!

Avoid the ULEZ cameras with this simple Google Maps trick

If you don't want to invest in an app, then there is another simple trick you can use.

Considering you face a £160 penalty if your vehicle doesn't meet the ULEZ emission standards, it is worth looking at alternatives.

A smartphone app could be a small price to pay – but you can do something similar for free.

You simply use Google Maps to help you avoid the charge.

Essentially, use your phone to plan your journey using Google Maps and make sure you select the ‘avoid tolls and ULEZ' option. 

This will route your journey around the ULEZ, so you avoid the cameras and don't have to pay the charge.

This is very useful if your trip goes through a part of ULEZ because Google Maps will highlight the fact and offer a route to avoid the zone.

That means you’ll avoid the cameras and won't have to pay.

How to avoid the ULEZ cameras – the facts

With hundreds of cameras dotted around the capital, it does appear to be a difficult undertaking to avoid them.

But since they aren't on every road, you could avoid them if you know the area – you should probably check on foot first!

The cameras read vehicle number plates being driven through the zone, which are checked against the database to see if they meet ULEZ emission standards. 

There are also advance information signs that appear on major roads, indicating the distance to the ULEZ boundary.

As we have seen, Google Maps offers an effective way of learning where the boundary is – and the major roads that are likely to have cameras.

You simply open Google Maps up on your phone and enter the destination you are driving to. 

Click directions via car and on the map, the ULEZ will be flagged up to show you if your destination is within the zone.

Accidents do happen

It's also worth pointing out that not everyone wants to wilfully evade paying the ULEZ daily charge, as we have seen some people are only driving along a few roads.

However, checking to see if you have driven through the ULEZ Zone is no easy task – and accidents do happen.

Other than ULEZ signage in the chargeable area, there are no toll booths or barriers. 

There's no doubt that many drivers will only find out if they have driven through the ULEZ area without paying is when the official penalty notice comes through their letterbox.

By being prepared, and using the tips in this article, you should be able to avoid the cameras and inadvertently paying the fine.

You should always:

  • Plan your route: Better safe than sorry. Know where you are going and check if the route goes through the ULEZ
  • Know if your vehicle is emissions compliant – or not
  • Is your vehicle exempt? If so, you don't have to worry though it will need to be a military vehicle or a historic car. Check the TfL website for more
  • If you worry about going into the zone accidentally you could pay beforehand – or wait until the letter informing you to pay arrives.
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