Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) | A Wagonex Guide

The ULEZ is helping to clear London's air, operating 24/7, every day of the year (except Christmas Day). This guide will cover what it is, what areas are affected, how much it costs, penalty charges and more…



What is the ULEZ?

ULEZ stands for Ultra Low Emission Zone. It is an area in London where vehicles have to meet strict emissions standards or pay a daily charge to drive within the zone. The initiative aims to tackle London’s air pollution by incentivising alternative modes of transportation and discouraging car use, whilst also ensuring that people are driving compliant vehicles. Ultimately, its goal is to reduce harmful emissions, thereby supporting a healthier environment for everyone in London.


What areas are affected by ULEZ?

When the ULEZ was first launched by Boris Johnson in April 2019, it covered a much smaller area of London.  In October 2021, the ULEZ was expanded to include everything within the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205). This was then further expanded on 29th August 2023 to cover all London boroughs and the City of London. The expansion didn’t extend to the M25. You can check where the ULEZ operates here.


Are All Vehicles Required to Pay the ULEZ Charge?

Not all vehicles are required to pay the ULEZ charge. Only vehicles that do not meet the specified emissions standards are required to pay the charge when driving within the designated area of London. Vehicles that meet the emissions standards, such as those with cleaner engines or electric vehicles, are exempt from the charge. You can check your registration here to see if you need to pay.  


Impact on the Environment

Research shows that the ULEZ has already helped to reduce harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 46% in central London and 21% in inner London. Despite this, more still needs to be done, as air pollution is not just a problem in Central London. This is why the ULEZ now operates across all London boroughs, aiming to provide the 5 million Londoners in the outer boroughs with clearer air to breathe.


What are the emission standards?

To qualify as ULEZ compliant, your vehicle needs to meet the specified Euro standard determined by its emission levels.

The primary goal of these standards is to decrease the following exhaust emissions:

  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Hydrocarbons (HC)
  • Particulate matter (PM)

London’s ULEZ restricts vehicles based on their Euro emissions standards, with those that do not meet the standard required to pay a toll. To check your vehicle’s Euro emissions standard you can check section D.2 of your vehicle log book (V5C).

If your vehicle meets the below standards, you do not need to pay the ULEZ charge:

  • Euro 3 - motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category).
  • Euro 4 -  petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles.
  • Euro 6 - diesel cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles.

There are different regulations for lorries, vans and specialist heavy vehicles over 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) and buses, minibuses and coaches over 5 tonnes GVW, you can find out more here.


How to find out if your vehicle is ULEZ exempt 

Blue Badge holders will need to pay the ULEZ charge unless their vehicle meets the ULEZ emissions standards or is registered for one of the three grace periods (these are temporary exemptions):


These grace periods are:

  • The ‘Disabled’ and ‘Disabled Passenger Vehicle Tax Class’ grace period - vehicles registered under these classes with the DVLA qualify for a grace period exempting them from the ULEZ charge until October 24, 2027. If the vehicle is registered outside the UK online registration is required.

  • The Wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV) grace period - this exemption applies to wheelchair-accessible cars and vans that do not meet ULEZ emissions standards but have been converted by mobility experts to accommodate disabled drivers or passengers.

  • The Disabled Benefits grace period - this grace period applies to individuals who either receive specific disability benefits or meet certain medical criteria. This criteria includes; having a terminal illness, being registered as blind or having a child under 3 with a medical condition that needs bulky equipment or use of a vehicle. 

To find out more about grace periods and whether you are exempt or not, you can check Transport For London’s exemption information here


Schemes to help with ULEZ

The scrappage scheme provides financial assistance to help eligible London residents scrap vehicles that don't meet the ULEZ emissions standards.


It’s helping clear London's air by providing grant payments to successful applicants to scrap or retrofit vehicles that don’t meet the emissions standards and switch to cleaner, greener modes of transport. You can find out more about the scrappage scheme here


How much does the ULEZ cost?

If you don’t meet the emissions standards or qualify for an exemption, you will have to pay a daily charge. The charge applies from midnight to midnight, meaning that if you drive within the ULEZ area across two days, such as before midnight and after midnight you’ll be required to pay two separate daily charges. 


For cars, motorcycles, vans, specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tonnes) and minibuses (up to and including 5 tonnes) you will have to pay £12.50. 


It’s important to note that you may also have to pay congestion charges in London which still apply even if your car is ULEZ compliant. Find out more about the congestion charges here


How to pay the ULEZ charge 

You can pay the charge in the following ways:

  • TfL website – you can register your vehicle for Auto Pay to pay the charge automatically. There is an annual £10 admin fee per vehicle.
  • The TfL Paysmartphone app.
  • By phone - UK: 0343 222 2222 (TfL call charges apply).
  • By setting up a London Road User Charging account - this allows you to set up Auto Pay for up to 5 vehicles to pay ULEZ charges automatically and makes faster payments. There is no admin fee for setting up an Account. 


What happens if you don’t pay the ULEZ charge

If you don’t pay the charge, TfL uses Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to detect entry in the zone. Therefore, failure to pay will result in a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of £180 but this can be reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days.


Get ULEZ compliant with a Wagonex car subscription

Complying with ULEZ regulations and using cleaner transportation options whenever possible is something we can all do to improve public health and create a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.

Here at Wagonex, we offer a range of ULEZ-compliant vehicles which meet the strict emissions standards required, making them an ideal option for drivers seeking to reduce their environmental impact and avoid the ULEZ charge. 


Electric vehicles are automatically ULEZ compliant. Petrol cars, typically those registered with the DVLA after 2005, can meet ULEZ standards. Newer diesel cars can also meet ULEZ standards. This is typically those registered with the DVLA as new after September 2005. 


Check out our range of electric vehicles here

Browse our full range here.

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