London's Ultra Low Emission Zone: everything you need to know

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone is expanding – and drivers of all non-compliant vehicles will have to pay a £12.50 daily fee...

Ultra low emission zone will go live in 2019

The ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in London came into force on 8 April 2019 and covers vehicles entering or being driven in the capital’s existing Congestion Charge zone.

From 25 October 2021, it will be expanded to include roads inside the North and South Circular roads, stretching as far north as Palmers Green, east to Barking, west to Ealing and south to Forest Hill.

Diesel cars that don’t meet Euro 6 standards and petrols that don’t comply with Euro 4 have to pay a daily levy of £12.50 for driving within the zone. The fee is payable for most diesel cars first registered before September 2015 and petrols first registered before January 2006.

The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, every day except Christmas Day, and is in addition to the existing £15 Congestion Charge, so owners of older cars have to pay a total of £27.50 a day to drive in the zone.

Transport for London (TfL) carried out a public consultation before the confirmation of the zone’s expansion, and says 56% of respondents were in favour of extending it.

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggest that more than 780,000 diesels and 858,000 petrol cars will be affected. That's substantially more than the 321,000 diesels and 255,000 petrols that Transport for London has claimed.

On the flip side, the expansion will result in more than 100,000 Londoners no longer living in areas that exceed air quality limits – an 80% increase on the current situation.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “We’re doing everything we can to tackle the issue and are starting to see improvements in air quality with the wide-ranging action we’ve already taken on tackling the most polluting cars and cleaning up our bus and taxi fleet."

Similar schemes on the way across Europe

Ultra low emission zone will go live in 2019

Other European cities have introduced measures to cut pollution. In France, under the Crit-Air scheme, all vehicles entering Paris have to display a sticker of one of six different colours to show how much they pollute. If they don't have one, the driver can be fined.

Stickers are only provided for cars first registered after 1997, and older cars aren’t allowed in the city at all during the scheme's operating hours of 8am to 8pm from Monday to Friday. Scooters and motorcycles built before 2000 are also banned, along with trucks and buses built before 2001.

Anyone who wants to take their vehicle anywhere in the city inside the Périphérique ring road (similar to our M25) must order a windscreen sticker for it via the Crit-Air website. The cost is €3.70 (about £3.20) plus postage.

Around 200 European towns and cities having similar zones, including 53 in Germany.

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