If you’re here, we’re assuming you are here because you are worried that you may have to pay London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone charges. 

You may also be curious to know a little more about the charges. 

That’s why we’ve put together this short article.

This article forms part of a series of articles outlining key details about the ULEZ and answering the questions on everyone’s minds.

Feel free to browse our other articles and read up on all the latest information about ULEZ. 

We really hope you leave this site feeling better equipped to understand ULEZ and armed with the knowledge you need to avoid having to pay ULEZ in the first place. 

What is ULEZ anyway? 

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ for short) was implemented in the early part of 2019. 

ULEZ was born out of a genuine need to reduce harmful air pollution levels in the nation’s capital. 

In short, people in London are dying because of air pollution. Disproportionately, those dying are the incredibly young and the old. 

Pressure has been building across the world to address issues of air pollution. In London, the ULEZ is one of the most radical measures anyone has implemented to address the issue. 

The ULEZ is an area of London where drivers of certain vehicles are forced to pay a standing daily charge of between £12.50-100 to use the capital’s roads. 

The zone covers the same area as London’s Congestion Charge (although it supplements this and does not replace it). 

For those who refuse to pay the ULEZ, there are heavy penalty fees. 

I drive in London, is my car exempt? 

There’s good news even if your car isn’t exempt.

Transport for London (TFL) offers a very generous scrappage scheme for cars that don’t meet strict ULEZ standards. 

In addition to the scrappage scheme, there’s also a grace period for those who own ULEZ chargeable vehicles and live within London. This grace period covers a 3 year window of time for the car owner to buy a new ULEZ compliant vehicle before having to pay any standing charge. 

There are some special categories of vehicles that are completely exempt from ULEZ charges. 

They include: 

  • Taxis Although, there are restrictions on what taxis are exempt. 
  • Vehicles for the disabled Exemption expires in 2025. 
  • Private Hire Vehicles only in very specific circumstances (see TFL website)
  • Historic Vehicles Unless used for commercial purposes. (Must be historic vehicle tax registered). 
  • Agricultural vehicles
  • Military vehicles
  • Mobile cranes Not all but most. 
  • Some non-road vehicles such as excavators. 
  • Not for profit minibus’ exempt between Oct 21 and Oct 23 with caveats. 
  • Showman’s vehicles Subject to specifics found on the TFL website. 

What if I can’t afford to pay? 

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that can be done. The choices are between driving a compliant vehicle, paying to drive a non-compliant vehicle or, finding another means of transportation. 

There are ways to challenge and appeal penalty charges but, outside of the grace period, there’s no way to avoid the daily charge if your vehicle doesn’t meet ULEZ standards. 

We hope that this article has been useful to you and that you understand more about what cars are exempt from ULEZ. 


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