Meetings, deadlines and life itself can all get in the way of some of the most crucial steps we need to take in our daily lives. Although paying the ULEZ daily charge may not feel like a necessity, you can bet your bottom dollar that the enforcement officers will follow up any debts they are owed. 

Forgetting to pay the ULEZ comes with a price. 

It’s not as simple as saying you simply forgot to pay the charge either. Read on to see what happens if you forget to pay ULEZ:

What is the daily charge?

Knowing what charges are expected of you is the first step to paying the ULEZ on time. It’s also worth bearing in mind – if your petrol vehicle meets the Euro 4 criteria or your diesel meets the Euro 6 emissions standards, you do not have to pay a single penny.

If your vehicle doesn’t meet the ULEZ emissions standards then you will have to pay the daily £12.50 charge (for light vehicles) to drive through the zone. Larger vehicles like lorries, buses and coaches will have to pay £100 daily. 

Charging days run midnight to midnight, seven days a week, every day of the year bar Christmas Day. No exceptions. 

When should you pay the ULEZ?

Here’s the slight buffer if you forget to pay the ULEZ charge straight away. You can pay up to midnight on the third day after travelling through the zone, or up to 90 days in advance of travel.

Failing to pay on time will issue a fixed Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) to the registered keeper of the vehicle. This applies to a nominated lease holder of the vehicle if an agreement has been provided by the registered keeper of the car. 

If you receive a PCN, you will be expected to pay £160 within 28 days. If you have a valid reason, such as illness or holiday, for failing to pay the ULEZ charge, you may have the charge wavered. It’s not a simple process though, and 9 times out of ten you will have to comply to the PCN T&Cs. See the TFL website for more information. 

Bear in mind, if you pay the PCN within 14 days of service, the penalty charge will be discounted by 50%.

What if I don’t pay my PCN?

Failing to pay a raised PCN against your vehicle within the 28 days of receipt will increase your charge to £1,500 or £240 depending on your vehicle size. 

Once a PCN charge certificate has been issued, you can no longer challenge the notice by making a representation. If you have never received the original PCN, or have not received an invitation to a representation, you can make a Statutory Declaration.

If your case escalates to the next level, the TFL will apply to register your charge as an unpaid debt to the Traffic Enforcement Centre. This incurs extra fees to the PCN already issued to your vehicle. 

An Order of Recovery will then be issues, and your penalty charge will begin to increase if not paid within 14 days of the Charge Certificate being served. Once this happens, you have upto 21 days to settle your debt to avoid further action. 

Whatever happens, don’t ignore a PCN!

What happens next?

Failing to pay a PCN within 21 days of an order for recovery being served will escalate your situation further. A warrant of execution will be passed on to an enforcement agent to recover the owed debt. 

If you get to this stage, you will not be sent a copy of the warrant. However, you can request one from the enforcement officer in charge. 

Bailiffs rarely just come to your door. First they will write to you. This in itself doesn’t come without a cost. Every letter, visit and action taken will add to your debt. So if you believe you have been issued a PCN incorrectly, show your evidence to the enforcement agent straight away. 


If the evidence you have supplied the enforcement officer supported your case, you may be able to fight your PCN. In most cases, they will collect any debt that is owed. 

Never miss a ULEZ charge again

To avoid forgetting the ULEZ charge, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure you don’t get caught out. 

Firstly, if you know when you are going to travel take advantage of the 90 days ahead of your journey to pay the charge. If you are more spontaneous, you can register for AutoPay via the TFL website. In partnership with the identification cameras throughout the city, your debit card will be charged each time you travel within the zone. 

Want to stay ahead of the game? Planning ahead and subscribing to AutoPay will never let you forget the ULEZ charge again!


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