London ULEZ charge 2022: map of Ultra Low Emission Zone, how to check costs and pay as extension planned

Rules for the low-emissions zone and how to use Transport for London’s system to check if your car is compliant as Sadiq Khan plans to expand it to the whole city

London mayor Sadiq Khan has announced plans to expand the capital’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone to cover the entire city within the next two years.

The zone was expanded to 18 times its original size in October 2021 but Mr Khan has now asked Transport for London to consult on extending it across the whole of Greater London, potentially affected 3.5 million extra people.

In January he raised the idea of introducing a pay-per-mile charging scheme across the whole of the capital but City Hall admitted that the technology to enforce such a system was “still years away”. Expanding the ULEZ would be a far quicker way of addressing the city’s pollution problem.

TfL is expected to launch a public consultation on expanding the zone but in the meantime, charges still apply to any vehicles entering the 140-square-mile area which don’t meet strict emissions limits, with fines for failing to pay the charge.

What is the ULEZ?

The ULEZ is an area of London where vehicles that don’t meet certain emission standards are liable for a daily charge.

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The zone was created to improve air quality in the city by reducing the number of older, more polluting vehicles on the roads. The aim of expanding the zone is to cut nitrogen dioxide by around 30%.

Transport for London says the zone is designed to discourage drivers from using these vehicles and encourage them to use alternative forms of transport or switch to newer, cleaner vehicles.

Where does the ULEZ cover?

(Graphic: Transport for London)

The ULEZ initially covered the same central area as London’s Congestion Charge zone but in October 2021 was expanded to cover all parts of the city within the North and South Circular roads.

It takes in all parts of the city from Haringey in the north and Southwark in the south to Newham in the east and Ealing in the west. It does not include the North and South Circulars themselves (A406 and A205, respectively).

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Where would the new ULEZ cover?

Under the mayor’s latest plans, by the end of 2023 the ULEZ would be expanded beyond the North and South Circular roads to cover the whole Greater London area.

This would affect an estimated 135,000 additional vehicles per day and mean 3.5 million more people live within the ULEZ.

When does the ULEZ operate?

ULEZ charges apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Christmas Day is the only day the scheme is not in operation.

The charge period runs from midnight to midnight, meaning that if you are in the zone before and after midnight on the same journey you will be charged for two days’ entry.

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How much is the ULEZ charge?

The ULEZ charge for cars and motorbikes that don’t meet the standard is £12.50 per day.

For lorries, coaches and other large vehicles, the charge is £100 per day.

How do I pay the ULEZ charge?

There are several ways to pay TfL for entering the ULEZ.

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What is the fine for failing to pay?

Failing to pay the charge for a car or motorbike will result in a fine of £160, reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days. For larger vehicles the fine is £1,000, reduced to £500.

What cars are exempt from ULEZ charges and how to check if your car is compliant

ULEZ compliance is worked out based on a vehicle’s emissions and TfL says that 80% of vehicles in the city are compliant, including all electric vehicles.

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Petrol cars must meet Euro 4 emissions standards while diesel cars must be Euro 6 compliant.

In general this means petrol cars registered after 2005 and diesel cars registered after September 2015 are exempt.

Motorbikes must meet Euro 3 standards, which generally means anything registered after July 2003.

However, there are exceptions so the best way to find out if your vehicle is exempt is to use the TfL checker, which can be found on the Transport for London website.

Classic cars older than 40 years old are exempt as long as they are registered as “historic” with the DVLA.

Drivers can also apply for an exemption to chargers if their vehicle is registered with a disabled or disabled passenger tax class. They will be exempt until 26 October 2025. Blue Badge holders do not automatically qualify for exemption.

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Patients travelling for NHS treatment and NHS staff may also qualify for a refund on any charge. Details on NHS reimbursements can be found on the TfL website.

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