As London air pollution increases people’s risk of illness, London authorities are taking drastic measures to help clean up the dangerously polluted air and improve public health. One way they’re doing this is by charging drivers for polluting cars each time they enter certain areas of London.

There are two charges that directly affect drivers: the ULEZ and the Congestion Charge. While the Congestion Charge aims to reduce traffic during daytime hours, the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) is aimed exclusively at improving air quality.

UPDATE
Starting from the 25th of October 2021, ULEZ has expanded from Central London to create a single, larger zone up to the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205). The North and South Circular roads themselves are not part of the ULEZ charging zone.

Here’s what you to know about the London ULEZ zone and the ULEZ charge in 2021.

What is the ULEZ charge?

The ULEZ charge is a daily tax aimed at vehicles that don’t meet a set of modern emission standards, in order to improve London’s air quality and make the city a more pleasant and safer place to live, work, and visit.

The ULEZ was introduced in 2019 and it’s currently the world’s largest clean air zone, covering Central London and a number of other neighbourhoods (collectively known as the ULEZ zone).

ULEZ zone 2021

Check if a location is in the expanded ULEZ zone

When does the ULEZ charge apply?

The ULEZ charge applies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, except Christmas Day (25th of December).

How much is the ULEZ charge?

The ULEZ charge is a daily £12.50 for most small vehicles with an older internal combustion engine, including cars, motorcycles, and vans.

How do I know if I have to pay the ULEZ charge?

Generally, your car must meet the following emission standards:

  • Petrol cars: Euro 4 or higher

Petrol cars that meet the ULEZ standards are generally those registered with the DVLA after 2005, although cars that meet the standards have been available since 2001.

  • Diesel cars: Euro 6 or higher

Almost every diesel car produced since September 2015 meets the standard.

See if your car is ULEZ-compliant

Are hybrid and electric cars exempt from the ULEZ charge?

Fully electric cars are exempt from the ULEZ charge. Hybrid cars with a petrol engine must comply with Euro 4 regulations, and diesel-electric hybrids must comply with Euro 6 standards.

When do I pay the ULEZ charge?

If you drive within the ULEZ zone, you have to pay by midnight on the third day following your trip.

If you drive within the ULEZ area across two days, for example before midnight and after midnight, you will have to pay two daily charges.

How do I pay the ULEZ charge?

There are 4 ways you can pay the ULEZ charge:

  1. Autopay, from your London Road User Charging account. If you don’t have one, you can register here

    You can add up to 5 cars to the same account, with a £10 annual charge per car.

  2. Pay online
  3. Via the TfL Pay to Drive in London app

Download TfL Pay to Drive in London for iOS

Download TfL Pay to Drive in London for Android

  1. Pay by phone

UK: 0343 222 2222 (TfL call charges)
International: +44 343 222 2222
Textphone: 020 7649 9123 (if you’re hearing-impaired)

What happens if I don’t pay the ULEZ charge?

Download TfL Pay to Drive in London for iOS

Download TfL Pay to Drive in London for Android

If you don’t pay the ULEZ charge until midnight, the third day after your trip in the ULEZ zone, TfL will issue a PCN (Penalty Charge Notice) to the car’s registered keeper. The penalty charge is £160 (reduced to £80 if you pay it within 14 days). You can either pay the penalty or seek legal advice and challenge the PCN within 28 days of its date of service.

If you don’t pay the fine within 28 days, your penalty charge increases by 50% and you’ll no longer be able to challenge the PCN.

Is the ULEZ charge the same as the Congestion Charge?

No. The Congestion Charge aims to reduce traffic during daytime hours, while the ULEZ charge is exclusively about improving air quality.

Until the 25th of October 2021, both charges covered the same area.

If you’re a Splend member, you don’t have to worry about the ULEZ charge – our entire fleet is ULEZ-compliant. Go straight for an electric PCO car and forget the Congestion Charge too.

About Splend

Splend is more than a set of wheels. We’ll help steer your career.

In addition to providing you with the most important tool in your career as a rideshare driver, we also offer ongoing training, support, and data-driven feedback via your personal Member Success Representative. You also enjoy a growing array of member benefits including discounts from our partners.

For more information about Splend, make an appointment at our Member Support Centre at 393 Edgware Road Cricklewood, London, email us, or say hello on 0333 016 4331