Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

​ULEZ stands for Ultra Low Emission Zone, and this is something that has been implemented to improve air quality in certain areas in the UK. To be able to drive in this zone, there are ULEZ emission standards that vehicles will need to meet, including vans and cars. If these standards are not met, charges must be paid. Below, we will explain more about ULEZ so that you can get a better understanding of these charges and what they mean for you. ​

What areas are affected by ULEZ?

It is important to acknowledge that the impacted area is actually expanding. From the 25th of October 2021, the current central Ultra Low Emission Zone will be one big zone, which will go all of the way up to South Circular Road (A205) and North Circular Road (A406), but not including these areas.

You can check this map to determine the area that is going to be covered. You will see that the areas covered include Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Haringey, Camden, Islington, City of London, City of West Minister, Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, as well as parts of Wandsworth, Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich, Newham, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hounslow, and a very small part of Enfield.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone is in operation seven days a week, 24 hours per day. The only exception to this is Christmas Day, i.e. the 25th of December.

What are the ULEZ Charges?

If your vehicles do not meet the ULEZ emission standards, you will need to pay a daily charge in order to drive in the Ultra Low Emission Zone.

The charges are as follows:

  • £12.50 per day for most vehicle types, including motorcycles, cars, and vans (up to and including 3.5 tonnes)
  • £100 for heavier vehicles, including buses and coaches (over 5 tonnes), and lorries (over 3.5 tonnes) 
  • As you can see, the costs can quickly mount if you are driving through this area regularly and your vehicle does not meet the requirements that are in place. 

    If you do not pay the charge, a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) will be issued to you. His penalty is in addition to any Low Emission Zone penalties or Congestion Charges you receive. 

    It is possible to set up auto-pay, which is highly recommended if your vehicle does not comply and you will pass through the area regularly. This will ensure you do not miss any payments and do not get fined. 

    Which vehicles are exempt?

    A number of Euro emissions standards have been brought into place from 1992, bringing about stricter limits when it comes to harmful gas emissions for company vehicles sold in the EEA and the EU. 

    In September 2015, the Euro 6 standard was introduced for cars. The same was brought into place for vans a year later, i.e. in September 2016. 

    A lot of new vehicles sold since September 2015 have had to meet the Euro 6 standard. Plus, a lot were compliant prior to this. 

    So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at whether or not your vehicle is going to be exempt:

    Diesel cars

    Your car needs to meet the Euro 6 emissions standards as a minimum. The majority of vehicles produced on or after September 2015 will be Euro 6 compliant

    Petrol cars

    Your car needs to meet the Euro 4 emissions standards as a minimum. The majority of vehicles produced on or after January 2006 will be Euro 4 compliant. 

    Electric and hybrid cars

    No electric car will need to pay the ULEZ charges that have been implemented. Hybrid vehicles with a petrol engine are going to need to be compliant with the Euro 4 regulations. Furthermore, a diesel hybrid is only going to be exempt if the Euro 6 standards are met. 

    LCVs and vans

    If you have a diesel van, in order to be exempt, your van needs to meet the Euro 6 emissions standards as a minimum. The majority of vehicles produced on or after September 2016 will be Euro 6 compliant.

    If you have a petrol van, in order to be exempt, your car needs to meet the Euro 4 emissions standards as a minimum. The majority of vehicles produced on or after January 2006 will be Euro 4 compliant.


    At present, London-licensed taxis do not need to pay the ULEZ charges that are in place. 

    There is currently a 15-year age limit implemented on this, yet TFL has stated they are looking at the possibility of lowering this to 12 years. 

    If you have a newly licensed taxi, this needs to be a zero-emission capable (ZEC) vehicle. 

    Vehicles for disabled people

    Finally, if you have a vehicle that falls into the tax bracket of being a ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicle,’ you will be able to make the most of a grace period. This means you are not going to need to pay any ULEZ charges up until the 26th of October in 2025, so long as there are not any changes to the tax class of your vehicle.

    If you have a Blue Badge, you are going to need to pay the charges that are implemented unless your car is registered with the DLVA as a ‘disabled passenger vehicle’ or ‘disabled’ car in your tax class. Of course, if your vehicle meets the ULEZ emissions standards, you also do not need to worry.

    Contact us today for more information

    If you want to know more about the ULEZ charges, or you want to find a vehicle that adheres to the ULEZ emission standards so that you are not subject to daily charges, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team at Swansway Motor Group today for more information.

    Our professional and experienced team is always happy to help you in any way they can! You can use our online chat service to get help right away. Alternatively, you can head to our contact page and find the telephone details for our individual garages. We can help you to select the most economical vehicle for your budget.