From August, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be expanded to cover all London boroughs, with hundreds of thousands of drivers facing a daily charge of £12.50 if their vehicle does not meet emission standards. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has spoken of the dire consequences of air pollution in the city, and hopes that by expanding the ULEZ, five million more people will be able to breathe cleaner air and lead healthier lives.
To determine if you will be liable for the charge, you can check Transport for London’s (TfL) online vehicle checker. Simply enter your registration number, and the checker will tell you if your vehicle meets emissions and safety standards or if you need to pay the daily fee. The criteria for ULEZ compliance depends on how much nitrogen dioxide the vehicle emits. In general, vehicles must meet one of the following Euro frameworks to be exempt from the charge:
– Euro 3 for Motorbikes – engines must not produce more than 2.3g/km of carbon monoxide and 0.15g/km of nitrogen oxide
– Euro 4 for petrol cars, minibuses, vans – engines must not produce more than 1g/km of carbon monoxide or 0.08g/km of nitrogen oxide
– Euro 6 for diesel cars, minibuses, vans – engines must not produce more than 0.5g/km of carbon monoxide, 0.08g/km of nitrogen oxide or 0.005g/km of particulate matter
For diesel cars and vans, they must generally have been registered from 2016 onwards to avoid the charge. For petrol models, they must have been registered from 2006 onwards. However, newer cars are not necessarily exempt so it is important to check your vehicle. You can also use the official ULEZ postcode checker to see if you face the fee in your own borough.
Certain vehicles are exempt from the ULEZ charge, including wheelchairs accessible private hire vehicles (with a grace period until October 2027), all vehicles constructed before January 1973, specialist agricultural vehicles, military vehicles, non-road vehicles allowed to drive on the highway (eg excavators) and certain types of mobile cranes. Electric vehicles also do not need to pay the charge, as they produce zero emissions. Lorries, vans and specialist heavy vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and buses, minibuses and coaches over five tonnes do not need to pay the charge, but they may need to pay the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) charge if they do not meet emissions standards.
There is also financial support available for those on a low income or disability benefits with vehicles that do not meet ULEZ standards, as well as a van and minibus scrappage scheme for small businesses and charities registered in London. People may receive up to £2,000 for scrapping a car or £1,000 for a motorcycle, while wheelchair-accessible vehicles may receive up to £5,000.
To find out more information about the ULEZ expansion and check whether your vehicle is compliant, visit the TfL website.