As London air pollution increases, London authorities are taking drastic measures to help improve air quality and reduce pollution’s harmful risks. That’s why they introduced special charges for polluting cars each time they enter certain areas of London.

Additional to parking fees and airport drop-off charges, drivers have to pay another two important charges 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 need to know about the London ULEZ and the ULEZ charge in 2023.

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.

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.

Where is the ULEZ charge zone?

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 neighborhoods (collectively known as the ULEZ zone).

Starting October 2021, the ULEZ covered all areas within 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.

From August 29, 2023, the ULEZ expands to cover all 33 boroughs in Greater London. Read more about the ULEZ expansion.

Extended ULEZ map – Source: TfL


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).

When does the ULEZ charge start?

If you drive within the ULEZ area at any moment, you have to pay the charge. The charge does not apply if the car is only parked within the zone. A daily charge runs from midnight to midnight. 

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 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

Can I make my car ULEZ compliant?

Yes. You can either upgrade the exhaust system or change the car’s engine. In addition, you need to have the car recertified so it will be recognised by DVSA as ULEZ compliant. However, these solutions are extremely expensive. It might be a lot cheaper and easier to get a new car that meets the emission standards.

What cars are exempt from paying the ULEZ charge?

Fully electric cars are exempt from the ULEZ charge. This means that driving an electric car for Uber is an even better idea. Hybrid cars with a petrol engine must comply with Euro 4 regulations, and diesel-electric hybrids must comply with Euro 6 standards.

You can check this list with best ULEZ compliant Uber cars to see which one suits your needs.

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.

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?

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 Heathrow Airport in the ULEZ zone?

Starting August 29, 2023, the ULEZ will expand to cover all Greater London, including Heathrow Airport.

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. The Congestion charge also operates within a specific time schedule — check here the timing for Congestion Charge in London.

If you’re a Splend customer, 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

We enable people to make money by driving. Our vision is a future where every on-demand driver can be successful.

We’re PCO car specialists. Don’t take our word for it—drivers rate us excellent on Trustpilot. We can set you up with a brand-new or new-model car on our Flexi own plan, plus we provide the training and support you need to become an Uber driver that’s more profitable, safer, and fulfilled.

Make an appointment at our London Hub at 393 Edgware Road Cricklewood, Londonemail us, or say hello on 0333 016 4331