How does Ulez differ from the congestion charge – and do you need to pay both?

  • london
  • March 29, 2023
  • Comments Off on How does Ulez differ from the congestion charge – and do you need to pay both?
How does Ulez differ from the congestion charge – and do you need to pay both? thumbnail

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) is set to expand across London this summer, meaning that some areas will fall inside both the Ulez and Congestion Charge zones.

The plans to extend the Ulez scheme have been met with protests as hundreds of thousands of drivers face paying the £12.50 daily charge.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan claims the Ulez it will mean ‘five million more people will be able to breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives’.

But many drivers are wondering who has to pay the Ulez charge – and whether you have to pay it in addition to the congestion charge.

Here’s what you need to know.

How does Ulez differ from the congestion charge?

The Ulez charge is a daily £12.50 payment made by those driving the most polluting vehicles – typically older cars. You can easily find out if your vehicle is liable for the charge here.

Currently, the zone just applies to central London, but from August 29, 2023, this will be expanded to include all London boroughs – reaching as far south as Kingston-Upon-Thames in Surrey.

It applies on every day of the year except Christmas Day.

Unlike Ulez, the £15 daily Congestion Charge – which is currently in force in central London – applies to all vehicles (with some exceptions such as licenced taxis) entering it. This is aimed at reducing traffic congestion in London, which also eases air pollution.

But the Congestion Charge only applies between 7am and 6pm on weekdays, and 12pm to 6pm on weekends and bank holidays (except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day).

Do I have to pay both the Congestion Charge and Ulez?

It depends on your vehicle – and on the time of day you’re travelling.

The first step is to check if you’re liable for the Ulez charge – if so, and you’re entering the zone, this has to be paid every day except Christmas Day.

Bear in mind that days run from midnight to midnight, so if you drive in at 8pm and out at 12.30am, you’ll need to pay twice.

At present, Ulez only applies in central London – but from August 29, 2023 will include all London boroughs.

As for the Congestion Charge, if you enter that zone at any time between 7am and 6pm on weekdays, and 12pm to 6pm on weekends and bank holidays (except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day), then yes, you have to pay.

You can use this tool to check for payments you need to make, and to pay.

|So if both the Ulez and Congestion Charge apply to your journey, then you have to pay both.

What happens if I don’t pay?

You’ll get a fine.

These are currently £180 (or £90 if paid within 14 days) for both unpaid Ulez and Congestion Charge.

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So if you’re due to pay both, and don’t, you’ll face a £360 bill.

It’s worth checking out the government’s scrappage scheme which pays out to get rid of the most polluting vehicles – £2,000 for a car, for those eligible.


MORE : Livid driver puts ‘F*** Ulez’ number plates on his truck in protest


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MORE : Woman whose son, 6, nearly died of asthma attack says Ulez expansion is needed

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