The lowdown on the 2023 ULEZ expansion
Key Facts on London's Growing ULEZ
If you’re a frequent traveller in and around England’s capital, you’ll know about London’s ULEZ charge; but did you know that it’s expanding? If your car isn’t compliant with the ULEZ standards, you’re going to find yourself liable for the daily charge in an area bigger than it is currently, incentivising the purchase of greener vehicles, and encouraging the use of public transport.
What is ULEZ?
It’s no secret that the climate crisis is a large item on the Government’s agenda, which was the driver behind the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London, arguably an area with the biggest potential for pollution in the UK.
To incentivise the use of environmentally friendly vehicles as well as the use of the capital’s public transport, ULEZ was rolled out in 2019, and has been in place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 364 days a year since. The only day it doesn't operate on is Christmas Day.
Those travelling within the zone are required to pay a fee if their vehicle isn’t compliant with ULEZ standards.
How much does ULEZ cost per day?
A £12.50-per-day charge applies to cars, motorcycles, vans and specialist vehicles up to and including 3.5 tonnes if they don’t meet the standards we’ll outline shortly.
If you regularly travel in London, you may already be familiar with both ULEZ and the congestion charge, and it’s important for us to point out that they are separate. All vehicles travelling within the congestion charge zone need to pay £15 per day, paying the ULEZ charge additionally if their vehicle doesn’t comply with the ULEZ standards. It wouldn’t take long for things to get pricey if you regularly have to pay both!
What vehicles are ULEZ compliant?
For a vehicle to be ULEZ-compliant and therefore exempt from paying the £12.50 per day charge, they need to meet the following standards:
- Euro 3 for motorcycles (including mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles)
- Euro 4 for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
- Euro 6 for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles
What area is currently covered by ULEZ?
At the moment, the Ultra Low Emission Zone covers Central London, and this is within the North and South circular roads.
However, on Tuesday 29th August 2023, this is due to expand to cover Greater London, as confirmed by TFL (Transport For London).
Is anyone exempt from the ULEZ?
There are a small number of vehicles that do not have to pay the ULEZ charge, and they include:
- Lorries, vans and specialist vehicles over 3.5 tonnes
- Buses, minibuses and coaches over 5 tonnes
Vehicles that class as ‘historic’ in terms of vehicle tax (that’s vehicles that were built before January 1st 1983) are also exempt from paying the ULEZ charge.
Why is the ULEZ expanding?
The improvement of air quality and reducing the harmful effects of vehicular traffic on the environment has always been the idea behind the ULEZ, so it makes sense for this area to become bigger to encompass all of London.
Where is the Ultra Low Emission Zone expanding to?
Expanding to outer London, the Ultra Low Emission Zone will be applicable in all 33 London boroughs, bordering the M25 in some places.
The map below indicates where you can expect to find the new ULEZ boundary after 29th August 2023 - this is highlighted in the lighter green colour. This map is courtesy of Transport for London.
When is the ULEZ expansion happening?
The ULEZ expansion will be enforced from Tuesday 29th August 2023.