How to check if you’ll need to pay the £12.50 ULEZ charge

How to check if you’ll need to pay the £12.50 ULEZ charge thumbnail

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone is set to be expanded across all London boroughs in August, with hundreds of thousands more drivers facing new fees.

ULEZ is a designated area in the capital where there is a £12.50 daily charge for driving vehicles that do not meet emission standards – so mostly older cars.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan previously said air pollution is making Londoners ‘sick from cradle to the grave’ with illnesses such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma.

He described the ULEZ as ‘transformational’ and claimed extending it will mean ‘five million more people will be able to breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives’.

So, how can you find out if you will be hit with the fees following the expansion?

How to check if your car is ULEZ compliant

Transport for London (TfL) has an online vehicle checker that states whether your vehicle is compliant: simply enter your registration number.

This will tell you if your vehicle meets emissions and safety standards required to drive in London, or if you need to pay a daily charge.

If a vehicle meets the criteria and a daily charge does not need to be paid, a statement will read: ‘You do not need to pay a daily ULEZ charge to drive in the zone, and are helping to improve air quality across London.’

Whether or not a vehicle is liable for the charge depends on how much nitrogen dioxide it emits.

According to ULEZ standards, vehicles must meet the following Euro frameworks to be exempt from the charge:

  • Euro 3 for Motorbikes – engines must not produce more than 2.3g/km of carbon monoxide and 0.15g/km of nitrogen oxide
  • Euro 4 for petrol cars, minibuses, vans – engines must not produce more than 1g/km of carbon monoxide or 0.08g/km of nitrogen oxide
  • Euro 6 for diesel cars, minibuses, vans – engines must not produce more than 0.5g/km of carbon monoxide, 0.08g/km of nitrogen oxide or 0.005g/km of particulate matter

For diesel cars and vans to avoid the charge they must generally have been registered from 2016, while most petrol models registered from 2006 are exempt. However, newer cars are not necessarily exempt from the charge, so make sure you check your vehicle.

If you’re concerned you may be charged for driving in your own borough, you can check the official ULEZ postcode checker to see if you face the fee.

Are any vehicles exempt from ULEZ charge?

The following vehicles don’t have to pay the daily ULEZ fee:

  • Wheelchair accessible private hire vehicles will be given a grace period until October 24, 2027
  • All vehicles constructed before January 1, 1973
  • Specialist agricultural vehicles
  • Military vehicles
  • Non-road vehicles which are allowed to drive on the highway (for example, excavators)
  • Certain types of mobile cranes
  • London-licensed taxis

Of course, all electric vehicles are exempt from the charge as they produce zero emissions.

Plus, lorries, vans and specialist heavy vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and buses, minibuses and coaches over five tonnes do not need to pay the charge – but they will need to pay the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) charge if they do not meet emissions standards.

Is there any support available?

The car and motorcycle scrappage scheme is for people on a low income or disability benefits with vehicles that don’t meet the ULEZ standards.

Meanwhile, there is a van and minibus scrappage scheme for sole traders, small business or charities registered in London to scrap or retrofit their vehicles that don’t meet the standard.

You can get up to £2,000 for scrapping a car or £1,000 for a motorcycle. For wheelchair-accessible vehicles, it is £5,000 to scrap.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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