The current London Ultra Low Emission Zone is expanding
When is the London Ultra Low Emission Zone expanding?
On the 25th October 2021, the existing central London ULEZ area will be expanded to the North Circular (A406) and South Circular (A205) ring roads forming a single larger zone. The roads themselves will not be included in the zone though.
There will be no changes to the ULEZ operating times - it will run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with the exception of Christmas day (25 December).
All vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, vans and other vehicles (of 3.5 tonnes or less) and minibuses (up to and including 5 tonnes) will need to meet the required emissions standards when entering and driving within the zone. The vehicles that don't meet the emission requirements will need to pay a daily charge to use the ULEZ.
What are the required emissions standards for the existing and expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone?
- Euro 3 (NOx) for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles
- Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cars, vans and other specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight) and minibuses (up to and including 5 tonnes)
- Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans and other specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tonnes) and minibuses (up to and including 5 tonnes)
If you're not sure if your vehicle meets the emissions requirements for the Ultra Low (and Low) Emission Zones, please click the button below. Use this handy tool to check if your vehicle meets the emissions standards, and if it doesn't but your work requires you to travel through London daily, then now might be the time to make the switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle. Running on electric could save you thousands each year if you avoid daily charges. We've got the best deals on the increasingly popular Renault Kangoo ZE electric lease, Mercedes eVito van lease offers, and a range of electric cars to easily navigate from A to B.
Check your vehicle
The area of ULEZ expansion
Image: ULEZ extension to inner London from 25 Oct 2021
How will you know you are in the Ultra Low Emission Zone?
There will be signs installed on the major roads surrounding ULEZ to give you advance information that you're approaching the zone. There will also be signs at every entry point to tell you when you're entering the zone, so make sure you check for these when driving around London. There will be no barriers or toll booths to stop you. Once you enter the zone, the cameras will simply read your number plate and check if your vehicle meets the emissions standards for the Ultra Low Emission Zone against the database.
How much does it cost to enter and drive within the ULEZ?
You will only need to pay if your vehicle doesn't meet the required emissions standards for the Ultra Low Emission Zone. The daily charge is £12.50 and can be paid in advance or on the day of travel. If you forget to pay the ULEZ charge, you have until midnight 3 days after you travelled to pay it and avoid the fine.
Register for Auto Pay and never miss a payment. Auto Pay bill you automatically for the number of charging days your vehicle travels within the ULEZ and other charging zones.
You can set up Auto Pay with the official TfL Pay to Drive app, available as a free download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. There is a £10 annual admin fee to register up to five vehicles and using the app, but it may be worth it as you will never have to worry about forgetting to pay and having to pay the Penalty Notice as a result.
Are ULEZ charges and Congestion Charges the same thing?
No. Remember that the ULEZ charge is separate from the Congestion Charge, so if you also drive within the Congestion Charge zone in central London, you will need to pay the daily Congestion Charge as well unless your vehicle is exempt or discount. The good news is that although the ULEZ is expanding in October 2021, the Congestion Charge zone will not be expanding.
If you pay London travel fees regularly, it is worth registering for Auto Pay, which will bill you for the number of charging days your vehicle travels with the London charging zones (ULEZ and Congestion Charge Zone).
Why is the London Ultra Low Emission Zone being expanded?
Air quality has recently improved as a result of the pandemic and reduced travelling but the toxic air pollution still remains a big environmental risk to all those living in London, impacting the wider CO2 emission targets in the UK. It harms the lungs and makes chronic diseases (such as asthma, lung and heart disease) worse and is also dangerous to the health of children. Air pollution, not only in central London but also across the capital, is getting higher again and returning to the pre-pandemic levels.
The emissions from traffic are the biggest reason for poor air quality. In an attempt to fight air pollution caused by vehicles, central London implemented the first world's 24/7 Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in April 2019. Since then the number of vehicles meeting the zone emissions standards went up from 39% to 80% and the roadside nitrogen dioxide within the zone has been reduced by 44%. Seeing the positive changes the ULEZ has brought, the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) have decided to improve air quality across the capital by expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone further and make the transport in London greener.
Where do the fees go?
Transport for London is a no-profit organisation and has confirmed that all the fees paid for entering and driving within the ULEZ will be invested to improve London's transport network (cycleways, buses and Tube) and to keep improving the 'big smoke's' quality of air.
How to avoid the Ultra Low Emission Zone charges?
To help improve air quality in London, TfL encourages the Londoners to walk or cycle where possible, or to use public transport. This, of course, is not possible if you have a business you need to operate. The daily charges are not that high if you have to travel through the ULEZ occasionally but they will start adding up to big amounts if you need to drive within the zone on a daily basis, i.e to get to your customers. Just to give you an idea of how much it can cost you, in 2020 there were 256 working days. Each day costing you £12.50 in ULEZ charges gives a whooping £3,200 for the whole year!
The best way to avoid paying the charges is to switch to a low-emission vehicle or, even better, to an EV. Electric cars and electric vans produce zero emissions helping you avoid all these charges and allowing you to travel freely within Low Emission Zone, Ultra Low Emission Zone and also apply for a Cleaner Vehicle Discount for the Congestion Charge zone.
Going electric will not only save you the money on the ULEZ fees but will also cut your vehicle running cost down. Did you know that the Renault Kangoo ZE, our best-selling all-electric van, costs only around £5 to charge in full? (read our Kangoo ZE full review here). We understand that the EVs are still new and some of our customers are not sure if the electric van will be a good choice for their business but our Electric Van Guide should help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of leasing an all-electric vehicle. With low monthly rentals on the Renault Kangoo ZE van lease, the cost of leasing this commercial vehicle is affordable which is definitely an advantage.
What can you do if you want to try an electric van without the long-term commitment? We know it happens, vehicles that once seemed perfect might no longer meet your business needs or your circumstances change. The good news is that you can now lease our electric Mercedes eVito van for 1 year only, giving you the pleasure of sampling an electric vehicle while saving costs when driving through London. This is a super special electric van leasing deal to give our customers a chance to try an electric van without long term commitment.
Getting caught in the Ultra Low Emission Zone? Don't worry, we've got your back.
Whether you're looking for a low or zero-emissions car for personal use, a company car suitable for operating in the ULEZ or a low-emission electric van lease to carry your business in the expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone - CVC will give you free and honest advice and help you find the best car or commercial van leasing deal so you can avoid costly charges. Get in touch today to discuss your requirements.