What Is ULEZ?
ULEZ stands for “Ultra Low Emissions Zone” and is an area of London where charges are in place for vehicles that give off higher emissions. It aims to decrease pollution in the city and create a clean air zone. It’s in operation 24/7, with the exception of Christmas day, and first came into force in April 2019. It’s now being expanded.
Which Areas Are Now Covered Within ULEZ?
Previously, ULEZ covered an area in the very centre of London that roughly equated to zone 1 of the city. As of 25 October, the ULEZ clean air zone has been expanded to cover all areas within the North and South Circular boundaries. The North and South Circular roads themselves are not included.
London’s New Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) Boundary
Which Vehicles Will Be Charged?
You can find out on the Transport for London (TfL) website if your vehicle will incur an ULEZ charge. However, as a guide, the following vehicles will have to pay a fee:
- Petrol cars and vans that do not meet Euro 4 standards (mostly vehicles that were made and registered before 2006)
- Diesel cars and vans that do not meet Euro 6 standards (mostly vehicles that were made before 2015)
- Motorbikes that do not meet Euro 3 standards (mostly vehicles that were made and registered before 2007)
City Hall estimates that around four out of five cars within the expanded zone already meet the minimum emission requirements and will therefore not be liable for the ULEZ charge.
Vehicles will only be charged when they drive within the zone – so you won’t incur a fee if your vehicle is left parked or stationary.
How Much Are The Charges?
The ULEZ charge is £12.50 per day for cars, vans, minibuses, motorcycles and mopeds under 3.5 tonnes. Heavier vehicles such as large vans, mini-buses, lorries, buses and HGVs aren’t subject to the ULEZ charge but will have to pay the LEZ (Low Emission Zone) charge if they don’t comply with certain criteria. The LEZ charge is either £100 or £200 depending on the type and weight of the vehicle.
You have 2 days after travelling within ULEZ to pay the charges. After that, there is an £80 fine for non-payment. If you fail to pay within 14 days, you will face a £160 fine.
How Do You Pay For ULEZ?
If your vehicles does not meet the emission standard you can pay ULEZ charges online on the TfL website (you’ll need to register your vehicle). You can also set up an online account with automatic monthly billing – which could be useful if you plan to travel a lot within the zone. This can all be managed in the TfL app too. Alternatively, you can pay over the phone by calling 0343 222 2222. If you know you are going to travel within the zone, you can pay the charge in advance, up to 90 days before travelling.
Will Disabled Drivers Be Affected By ULEZ?
ULEZ charges depend on the type of car you are driving, but there are some exemptions for people with disabilities.
Sunset Period For Disabled & Disabled Passenger Tax Class Vehicles
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) and adapted cars can be harder to replace, so vehicles that have a 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicle' tax class with the DVLA will be granted a sunset period until 26 October 2025. This means that until then those vehicles won’t be subject to the ULEZ charge, even if they would otherwise be affected.
If you are leasing a WAV or adapted car through Motability and have extended your lease to 5 or 7 years, it’s likely that it has the relevant vehicle tax class to make it exempt from ULEZ during the sunset period.
Motability And ULEZ
Most people with a disability who use the Motability Scheme will be exempt from ULEZ charges. ULEZ targets older vehicles that are less environmentally friendly. Motability vehicles are unlikely to be affected, as almost all of them are handed over to the driver brand new, and then leased for a period of 3 or 5 years.
Blue Badge Holders And ULEZ
Being a Blue Badge holder does not automatically exempt you from having to pay the charge. Your vehicle would still need to meet the ULEZ emission standards or be registered with the DVLA in the 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicle' tax class. This includes ex-Motability vehicles. However, Blue Badge holders are still exempt from the Congestion Charge.
To find out more and see if your vehicle is affected by ULEZ, visit the TfL website.
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