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.
Here’s what you to know about the London ULEZ zone and the ULEZ charge in 2021.
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).
The ULEZ charge applies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, except Christmas Day (25th of December).
The ULEZ charge is a daily £12.50 for most small vehicles with an older internal combustion engine, including cars, motorcycles, and vans.
Generally, your car must meet the following emission standards:
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.
Almost every diesel car produced since September 2015 meets the standard.
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.
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.
There are 4 ways you can pay the ULEZ charge:
You can add up to 5 cars to the same account, with a £10 annual charge per car.
UK: 0343 222 2222 (TfL call charges)
International: +44 343 222 2222
Textphone: 020 7649 9123 (if you’re hearing-impaired)
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.
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.
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