ULEZ checker: Which cars are exempt from London's Ultra Low Emission Zone and is my car compliant? | The Sun

THE Ultra Low Emission Zone expansion has been confirmed to go ahead.

The ULEZ expansion, backed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, will start on August 29 after being ruled lawful by the High Court.

What is the ULEZ?

The ULEZ is an environmental policy that was introduced in 2019 to cut pollution and protect public health.

It originally started as a small patch in the very centre of London but has expanded to a vast area encompassing most of the city.

Plans to expand the ULEZ in 2023 will see all Greater London boroughs covered.

Under the ULEZ policy, only modern, efficient cars are allowed to enter the Ultra Low Emission Zones.

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Drivers of older vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, vans, and specialist vehicles and minibuses up to a certain weight, need to pay a daily £12.50 charge or find an alternative route. 

According to the Transport for London website, the ULEZ charge has reduced the number of older, polluting vehicles on the road and has contributed to a 44 per cent cut in roadside nitrogen dioxide within the boundaries of the zone.

Thousands of people in London are breathing potentially deadly toxins as the city has high levels of air pollution,  

In 2022, it was reported that drivers had coughed up almost £100 million in ULEZ charges in less than 12 months.

Who has to pay the ULEZ charge?

Old cars that are likely to be more damaging to the environment than newer vehicles are the targets of the ULEZ charge.

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Newer cars that meet the ULEZ standards are allowed into the zone for free, though the rules differ slightly for petrol cars, diesel cars, and motorcycles. 

You could be slapped with a £160 fine if you forget or fail to pay the ULEZ charge.

This is reduced, however, to £80 if paid within fourteen days.

What are the ULEZ standards?

Your vehicle must meet the required Euro emissions standard for your vehicle and emission type to meet the ULEZ emissions standard.

The Euro standards are a group of emissions controls with set limits on polluting nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from engines.

Petrol cars, along with vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles must meet Euro 4 emission standards, which were introduced in 2006 for normal cars.

This means, generally, that petrol cars first registered in 2005 or later will be eligible to enter the ULEZ zone free of charge.

Diesel cars, meanwhile, have to meet the more stringent Euro 6 standards, which were introduced later, in 2015.

This means most diesel cars first registered in 2015 will be able to travel in the ULEZ without the £12.50 charge. 

Petrol or diesel cars that were first registered before these dates may not be compliant and could fall foul of the rules. 

Motorcycles must meet Euro 3 emissions standards, which were made mandatory in 2007.

Mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles registered before then may not be compliant.

You can use the ULEZ compliance check on the TfL website to verify whether or not you need to pay when driving in your vehicle.

Will I have to pay the ULEZ charge for my brand-new car? 

Most motorists driving cars built recently will be able to travel into the ULEZ area for free.

Specialist vehicles, however, and some cars that have been individually imported from abroad may still have to pay.

My car is old – do I have to pay the ULEZ charge?

If you drive an older car or motorbike – a diesel built before 2015, a petrol car built before 2006 or a motorcycle built before 2007 – you could need to pay the charge.

If your vehicle falls under these categories you should check the TfL website before travelling into London. 

Owners of vehicles that are more than 40 years old can apply to be added to the historic vehicle tax class, which means that they no longer need to pay vehicle tax or the ULEZ charge.

All vehicles constructed before 1 January 1973 are exempt from the ULEZ charge.

Cars that meet this criteria but are registered outside of the UK can benefit from the same rules.

Owners should ensure these vehicles are registered before they are used in the zone.

Do I have to pay the ULEZ if I drive an electric car?

Electric cars are exempt from the ULEZ charge.

All fully electric cars are exempt from the charge, regardless of age.

Any vehicle that has been properly converted and registered as a battery car is also exempt.

Motorists, especially those who frequently drive in urban areas, are being encouraged to adopt EVs instead of petrol or diesel models.

Are hybrid cars exempt from the ULEZ charge?

Hybrid cars do not follow the same rules as EVs when it comes to the ULEZ charge.

The majority of hybrids will be exempt from the charge though drivers of some older models, such as the original Toyota Prius, will have to pay.

Petrol-electric hybrid cars follow the same rules as normal petrol cars and must be Euro 4 compliant, while diesel-electric hybrid cars must be Euro 6 compliant. 

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What other exceptions to ULEZ are there?

Some local residents and keepers of vehicles in a "disabled" tax class will be able to apply for discounts and temporary grace periods.

Blue badge holders still need to pay the charge if their vehicle falls outside the ULEZ emissions standards. 

London-licenced taxis up to 15 years old are exempt from the charge.

Minicabs with wheelchair access have a grace period until October 26, 2025, provided they are being used to carry out a private hire booking. 

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Some specialist farm vehicles, including tractors, mobile cranes, tanks, and diggers may also be exempt, as are some showman’s vehicles. 

Minibus drivers for a charity or school – excluding private schools – can register for a limited grace period until October 29, 2023.

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