The ULEZ (ultra-low emission zone) comes into force in London as of 8 April, and will operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year. New rules also mean many hybrid drivers will no longer be exempt from paying the congestion charge.
Below we explain everything you need to know about the new rules for driving in London. Either keep reading or use the links to jump to:
You need to know about Euro emission standards, as both the outgoing T-Charge and new ULEZ penalise certain cars based on what emission criteria they meet.
The Euro emission standards limit the maximum amount of pollutants, such as NOx, particulate matter and carbon monoxide, a car can produce. If a vehicle exceeds these limits in official testing, it cannot be sold in the UK or Europe.
Petrol carsIf you drive apetrol carthat is not at least Euro 4 certified, you will have to pay the ULEZ. The Euro 4 standard was introduced in 2005 and is also used for the outgoing T-Charge.
Diesel carsYou will have to pay the ULEZ if you drive adiesel car that is not Euro 6 certified. This is the current standard and it was introduced in 2014. This rule is stricter than the outgoing T-Charge.
Some manufacturers are able to get ahead of emission limits, releasing cars that meet the next standard before they are made mandatory. So even if your car was registered in 2013, it might still meet Euro 6 - you just have to check it.
The ULEZ will initially cover the same area as the congestion zone - see the ULEZ map below.
It will be expanded to the North and South circular from 25 October 2021 - the congestion charge zone will remain unaffected. See the expanded ULEZ map, below.
The ULEZ replaces the current T-charge (toxicity charge), and will operate 24 hours a day, all year round, including bank holidays and weekends.
The £11.50 congestion charge will also continue to operate, between Monday to Friday, 07:00 to 18:00 as before.
This means some drivers will have to pay a total of £24 per day to drive into London.
You don't need to pay the ULEZ charge if you own either a petrol car that meets Euro 4 or a diesel car that meets Euro 6. The 'sunset period' refers to the grace period that certain people will get, which willgrant them a full or part discount on a temporary basis.
You will get a full discount from the ULEZ until 24 October 2021 if:
You will, confusingly, continue to pay the T-Charge rate, instead of the ULEZ charge, and get a 90% discount until 24 October 2021 if:
You will get a full discount from the ULEZ until 26 October 2025 if your vehicle has a 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicles' tax class. But:
After the 8 April 2019, the only cars that will be exempt from paying the congestion charge will be modern plug-in hybrids and zero emissions cars.
This is because only cars that meet Euro 6, emit 75g/km or less of CO2 and have a minimum zero emission capable range of 20 miles will now be exempt from the congestion charge.
This is called the Cleaner Vehicle Discount, or CVD. It replaces the previous discount, the ULED.
Some older plug-in models may not qualify for the discount as they are not capable of driving 20 miles of electric-only range.
All existing ULED customers should be contacted about these changes and told if their registered vehicle is eligible for the CVD.
Two big changes occur on 25October 2021:
As of Christmas 2025, drivers of zero emission vehicles lose their congestion charge exemption.
There are currently no more plans to expand the ULEZ.
There are so many abbreviations, we though a quick glossary wouldn't go amiss.
ULEZ: Ultra low emission zone
T-Charge: Toxicity charge
CCZ: Though not used here, if you see 'CCZ' it stands for congestion charge zone.
ULED: Ultra low emission discount
CVD: Cleaner vehicle discount