What is the ultra-low emission zone?

The PA news agency answers 10 key questions about the scheme and how it affects drivers.

Vehicles queue in traffic in London
Vehicles queue in traffic in London

London’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) for older vehicles will be expanded from August next year.

Here the PA news agency answers 10 key questions about the scheme and how it affects drivers.

A Ulez sign
The scheme aims to raise air quality (Yui Mok/PA)

– When and why was the Ulez created?

It was launched in April 2019 to clean up London’s air.

– How bad is air quality in the capital?

An estimated 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year from conditions related to air pollution.

– How does Ulez help?

It disincentivises drivers from using the most polluting vehicles by charging them a daily fee for entering the zone.

– How much is the fee?

The charge for vehicles which do not comply with minimum emissions standards is £12.50 for cars, smaller vans, motorbikes and other lighter vehicles.

The fee for non-compliant larger vehicles such as lorries, buses and coaches is £100 under the low emission zone scheme.

Sadiq Khan
London mayor Sadiq Khan says the scheme is ‘transformational’ (Victoria Jones/PA)

– How do I avoid the fee when driving in the zone?

Ensure your vehicle meets the minimum emissions standard.

For petrol cars that means those generally first registered after 2005.

Most diesel cars registered after September 2015 are exempt from the charge.

– When does the Ulez operate?

All day, every day, except Christmas Day.

– How soon after a journey do I need to pay?

You have until midnight on the third day following the journey.

– What happens if I am liable to the charge but do not pay?

Failing to pay can result in a penalty charge notice of £160, reduced to £80 for early payment.

– What area is currently covered by the Ulez?

The zone initially covered the same area of central London as the congestion charge.

Since October 25 last year it has included everywhere within the North and South Circular roads.

– How significant is the August 2023 expansion?

The zone will be 18 times larger, covering all London boroughs.

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