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How Will The New ULEZ Affect You?

There was an era when you could freely hop into any vehicle and embark on your journey without the worry of incurring fines. But times have changed. Nowadays, speed cameras are omnipresent, you must adhere to specific time restrictions for bus lanes, and driving along certain roads is only permitted with a passenger onboard. Let’s not overlook the Congestion Charge either. Thankfully, most of these regulations are prominently indicated by roadside signs, and people generally comprehend them. However, the concept of emission charges continues to baffle many Britons. The term “Ulez” stands for “Ultra Low Emission Zone.” It refers to a designated area within a city, typically to reduce air pollution, where vehicles must meet strict emissions standards to be allowed entry. If a vehicle does not meet these emissions criteria and is not exempt, the owner or driver is required to pay a daily charge to drive within this zone. The Ulez is often implemented as a measure to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions in urban areas.

What Is The Ulez?

The Ulez operates continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the entire year, except on Christmas Day. If your vehicle doesn’t comply with the Ulez emissions standards and isn’t eligible for an exemption, you are required to make a daily payment of £12.50 to drive within the designated zone. This applies to both residents living within the Ulez area and visitors. It’s important to note that you are not obligated to pay the charge if your vehicle is parked within the zone and remains stationary without being driven. London’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) is set to widen its reach starting 29th August 2023, even as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan remains embroiled in a political dispute with neighbouring counties over this contentious initiative. The Ulez boundaries have now been extended to the outskirts of London, but councils led by the Conservative Party in Kent, Surrey, Essex, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, and Thurrock have all declined to reach an agreement with the London Mayor to allow the installation of signs that would notify drivers of their entry into the zone. As part of this plan, drivers operating vehicles with higher pollution levels will be subject to a fee when they enter the Ulez.

Are You Eligible For Pocket-Friendly Driving In The Capital?

It’s almost a decade now since people were charged for driving heavy polluting vehicles like buses, lorries, and coaches in London. In 2012 the law was expanded to cover vans, minibuses, horseboxes, motor-caravans, pick-ups, and utility vehicles. 29th August 2023, a new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will come into force which will affect a lot more vehicles, including cars and motorbikes, meaning transport must be a lot more efficient. Vehicles required to adhere to Ulez standards encompass cars, motorcycles, vans, and specialised vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes, as well as minibuses up to 5 tonnes. However, lorries, vans, or specialised heavy vehicles exceeding 3.5 tonnes, as well as buses, minibuses, and coaches surpassing 5 tonnes, are exempt from the Ulez charge. Failure to pay the charge may result in fines of up to £180.

Is My Vehicle Ulez Compliant?

To meet Ulez compliance, petrol vehicles must meet Euro Level 4 standards or higher, while diesel-powered vehicles must adhere to Euro 6 standards. The majority of hybrid and fully electric vehicles satisfy these requirements. However, there is no need to avoid buying a Euro 4 or Euro 5 rated truck as the zone covers only the centre of London and there are ways to meet the standards. Scaffolders and builders could fit an approved filter to their exhausts to reduce their vehicle’s emissions or if you operate a fleet of vehicles, you could reorganise it so that only vehicles making the emissions standards are driven within the zone. To check if your vehicle meets the requirements visit here.

How do you pay the Ulez charge?

You can make the daily Ulez charge payment online via the TfL  payment portal here. Alternatively, you can establish an automatic payment account, to receive billing whenever you enter the Ulez zone, use the TfL Pay to Drive in London app, or call TfL on 0343 222 2222.

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