London is one of the busiest capital cities in the world.
Even with its world-famous underground train system and cheap hop-on, hop-off bus network, the roads are often filled with traffic during the peak rush hour.
This is one of the reasons why the ULEZ was made available to check.
London residents make around 3.7 million car journeys within the city on an average day, according to Transport for London.
We reach close to 5 million car journeys made every day in London if we add in the estimated 1 million car trips made by non-residents every day.
There were more than 450 schools located in areas with illegal pollution levels. Pollution levels have dropped since then and there are 14 schools in such areas now.
The introduction of the Ultra-low Emission Zone in London, which charges certain vehicles that do not comply with its standards to drive in the capital, is a factor in the drop.
In this article, we will look at how to check if your car, lorry, or van is ULEZ compliant, what is ULEZ, and the rules and regulations to drive in the ULEZ.
What Is ULEZ?
The Ultra-low Emission Zone is an area in London where a fee is charged for drivers who drive the most pollution-causing vehicles.
There are strict rules on which cars and vehicles do and do not meet the standards and these are determined by Euro emissions standards, which have been around in various incarnations since the 1990s.
A charge can be found even a short drive through the ULEZ in a non-compliant vehicle. The charge does not have to be enforced by toll booths or barriers.
Instead, cameras are positioned around the ULEZ that read your vehicle’s number plate and send the details to a system that checks your car type to see if there is a fee due.
If you have passed through the ULEZ, you must pay online.
Why Is It Introduced?
The negative impact of air pollution on health is greater in London than anywhere else in Europe. Asthma sufferers, especially children, have died due to the pollution levels in London.
Diesel vehicles are one of the main contributors, but petrol cars also play a part in the damage.
The ULEZ came into effect in the same area as the London congestion charge, after initial plans in London came under consideration.
It was expanded beyond Central London in October of that year. The number of vehicles that are the worst in terms of pollution has dropped from 35,600 to 23,000 since the introduction.
There was a 20% reduction in emissions in Central London in the four months following its introduction.
How to Check If a Car Is ULEZ Compliant?
Car Guide has a number plate checker that you can use to check if your vehicle is compliant with the ULEZ.
If you enter your vehicle registration into the checker, the system will tell you whether or not your vehicle complies with the standards of the ULEZ.
If your car doesn’t comply with the standards you can still drive through the zone. You will have to pay a charge that varies depending on your car.
Emissions Standards for Vehicles
If you want to avoid a charge, your vehicle needs to meet the Euro emissions standard.
The maximum amount of harmful gasses a car can emit is referred to as the Euro emissions standards.
For a diesel car to meet the standard it must emit less than 80 milligrams per kilometer. A petrol car has to emit no more than 60 milligrams per kilometer.
Since September 2015, the majority of diesel cars have been built to meet the Euro and the ULEZ emissions standard.
Most motorcycles built after 2006 meet the standard, as will most petrol cars built after 2005.
We suggest that most of these vehicles will meet the standard, but some will not. It’s always a good idea to check whether your car works.
Most hybrid and electric vehicles are exempt from the charge.
The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) has a charge of £100 for buses or coaches weighing over 5 tonnes.
- Euro 3: mopeds, motorcycles, quadricycles, and motorized tricycles.
- Euro 4: minibusses, petrol cars, vans, and other specialist vehicles.
- Euro 6: minibusses, diesel cars, vans, and other specialist vehicles.
You can use a car checker to find out what Euro emission standard your car is. On the inside of one of the front door frames, you can find the standard listed in the registration documents.
How Much Does the ULEZ Charge?
The daily charge for most non-compliant cars, motorbikes, and vans is £12.50. The daily charge for buses and coaches weighing over 5 tons is £100.
All charges must be paid by midnight on the third day after the journey. If you don’t pay the charge, a penalty charge notice can be given.
If you don’t pay within 14 days, the penalty will increase to £160 Failure to pay the charge will eventually lead to prosecution.
You can set up an auto-pay account that will pay off any outstanding charges at the end of the month if you drive a non-compliant vehicle regularly.
Where is ULEZ?
Central London was only covered by the ULEZ when it was first introduced in 2019. The South Circular and the North Circular are encompassed by the ULEZ from October 2021.
Both roads are part of the ring road that circles London. The roads themselves are exempt from the charge, but only the roads within those boundaries have to pay it.
The ULEZ is now 18 times bigger than when it was first introduced, and it affects most of London.
No city in England has a ULEZ. Clean air zones exist in cities such as Bath and Birmingham.
Similar measures to restrict heavy pollutant emitting vehicles from their centers are being implemented by many other cities.
Truck driver by profession, automotive lover by heart. Ricky is the main publisher and editor at Truckile.com sharing his life-long knowledge and experience in the auto industry and truck driving!