London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will expand to cover much of the capital in just a matter of days, but the majority of motorists are unaware of the changes.
Only 43 per cent of drivers in and around the city are aware the £12.50 a day zone is vastly expanding on Monday, according to the study by car sales website Motorway.
Just a third of drivers surveyed knew how to check if their vehicle is compliant with ULEZ while even fewer were confident about the extended zone’s new boundaries, the poll of more than 2,000 revealed.
Read our ULEZ explained feature below ahead of the expansion next week.
Huge change: The zone will from Monday extend from the orange area in Central London to the yellow boundary up to the North and South Circular
The poll of drivers – three quarters of them living in Greater London and the remainder living just outside – was conducted only a week ago, between 6 and 13 October.
But despite the expansion looming, only 29 per cent were aware that the zone will soon stretch across areas of South West London (including Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames, Sutton, and Wandsworth), with only a third (33 per cent) saying they knew the boundary is set to cover parts of West London, including Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington, and Chelsea.
Again, only a third were aware of its coverage of North London locations, including Barnet, Enfield, Hackney and Haringey, and the same for the South East, inclusive of Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham.
Motorway also says only 37 per cent correctly identified that Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest in the North East would soon be within the ULEZ limits.
TfL estimates that 100,000 cars a day will be affected by the ULEZ expansion to the North (A406) and South Circular Road (A205), along with 35,000 vans and 3,000 HGVs.
Based on these estimations, the ULEZ will bring in some £1,987,500 every day for the Greater London Authority. That’s almost £14million a week, or £723million a year.
Those who have returned to offices in the capital on a hybrid working basis of just two days a week would incur £1,125 in charges per year if their vehicle is non-compliant, while a driver who enters the ULEZ five days a week for work would have to pay up to £2,800 per annum.
A poll of motorists who live in London or within an hour of the city found that only 35% knew how to check if their vehicle is compliant with ULEZ
With many set to be stung by the daily charge, one in seven polled – likely owners of non-compliant motors – said they plan to sell their vehicle within the next six months.
Two thirds of motorists in and around London told Motorway they will consider buying an electric vehicle in light of the ULEZ expansion.
This is despite the fact 29 per cent are concerned that they would not be able to charge an EV at home, while 28 per cent are worried that their freedom will be limited when waiting for batteries to charge.
Despite the worrying lack of awareness about the zone getting larger, 30 per cent of those surveyed do think that it is necessary for the London ULEZ to be extended to improve the city’s abysmal air quality levels.
Tom Leathes, chief executive of the car selling firm, said it was surprising that more than half of drivers in and around London were still in the dark about the ULEZ expansion, given that they have had over three years to prepare following Sadiq Khan’s first announcement in 2018.
‘If the car you’re driving means you’ll be charged when you enter the ULEZ, then selling it may be an obvious choice to save money,’ Leathes said.
‘With used car prices at an all-time high, now is a great time to sell – and even non-compliant cars are going for great prices as those who live outside of Clean Air Zones like the ULEZ won’t be feeling the pinch of these fuel charges.’
Amanda Stretton, motoring expert, added: ‘It’s really shocking that despite Transport for London’s best efforts to communicate the expansion of the ULEZ only 43 per cent of drivers around the London area have a clue about it.
‘Add to that only 35 per cent know how to even check if their vehicle will be charged!
‘Clearly motorists have had their heads in the sand about this but with more cars on the road now that people are returning to work, we will see a large number of unaware drivers facing penalties from 25 October.
‘It will be interesting to see if these penalties translate into an increase in these types of cars going for sale in the not too distant future.’
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ULTRA LOW EMISSION ZONE
Read our guide on everything you need to know about ULEZ, including where the income for payments and fines goes and who came up with the plan for the zone in the first place
What is the ULEZ?
The Ultra Low Emission Zone first came into force in London on 8 April 2019 to replace London’s now defunct T-Charge.
It has been introduced by London Mayor Sadiq Khan to encourage motorists to lower the capital’s appalling air pollution levels by levying users of the dirtiest vehicles.
He hopes the ULEZ will encourage drivers to either transition to low emission models or electric vehicles that emit less toxic pollution and use public transport more frequently – or increase walking and cycling.
What part of London does the ULEZ cover?
The zone itself – for the first two years from introduction – covered the same area as the Congestion Charge Zone in the most central part of London.
However, from 25 October 2021 it will be expanded up to, but not including, the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205), encompassing much of inner London.
Like the congestion charge, it is being policed by ANPR cameras that identify all vehicles being used in the zone.
When is the ULEZ operational?
ULEZ is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
How much is the ULEZ charge?
The charge is £12.50 per day for non-compliant cars, vans and motorcycles.
For the HGVs, the charge is £100 a day.
ULEZ is an additional charge on top of the Congestion Charge (£15). That means entering the congestion zone in a car that’s not exempt during its operating hours (7am to 10pm) will cost drivers a combined sum of £27.50.
Motorists also need to know that the ULEZ charge resets at midnight and does not cover drivers for a 24 hour period over two days. So if you enter the ULEZ at 23:59 and leave at 00:01, you will have to pay twice (£25).
The ULEZ is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and will be enforced by hundreds of automatic number plate recognition cameras around the city
How do I pay to enter the ULEZ?
Regular users can register to auto pay – though there is a £10 admin charge per vehicle to set this up.
Alternatively, you can go the TfL website to pay online.
How many cars driven in London each day will have to pay the ULEZ charge?
TfL estimates that 100,000 cars a day will be affected by the ULEZ expansion to the North and South Circular Road, along with 35,000 vans and 3,000 HGVs.
Based on these estimations, the ULEZ will bring in some £1,987,500 every day for the Greater London Authority.
That’s almost £14 million a week, or £723,450,000 a year.
Motorists are urged to use Transport for London’s ULEZ vehicle checker online to clarify in their vehicle is exempt from the £12.50 daily charge or not
How do I find out if my car is ULEZ compliant?
Exemption from ULEZ is different depending on the type of vehicle you own and the fuel it uses.
Here’s a breakdown of emissions standards required for each different vehicle type:
- Motorbikes and mopeds: need to meet Euro 3 standards (post-2007 vehicles)
- Petrol cars and vans: need to meet Euro 4 standards (vehicles post-2006)
- Diesel cars and vans: need to meet Euro 6 standards (vehicles post-2015)
- Buses, coaches and lorries: need to meet or exceed the Euro VI standard
The dates provided are merely a guideline and some newer cars than this might not qualify to be driven for free within the ULEZ.
If you’re unsure of the Euro standard of your car, motorcycle or van, you can use the TfL’s vehicle checker to discover if you’re compliant with ULEZ requirements or not.
Cars Alliance of British Drivers says do not qualify for ULEZ exemption despite being relatively new
These are just some examples of diesel cars produced after 2015 – when Euro 6 emissions standards were introduced – but will still incur £12.50 daily ULEZ charges.
The list has been provided by the Alliance of British Drivers:
- 2015 Citroen C3 Edition 1.6 Bluehdi 100 Edition 5dr 90bhp
- 2015 Citroen C4 1.6 e-HDi Airdream VTR+ Hatchback 5dr 115bhp
- 2015 Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi ECOnetic Style 5dr 94bhp
- 2015 Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi 115 Zetec 5dr 113bhp
- 2015 Fiat Panda 1.2 MULTIJET POP 5d 75 BHP
- 2015 Fiat 500 Lounge1.3 Multijet 3dr 95bhp
- 2015 Nissan Juke 1.5 ACENTA DCi 5 DOOR 110 BHP
- 2015 Renault Clio 1.5 dCi ECO Expression + 5dr 90bhp
- 2015 Toyota Auris 1.4 D-4D Excel (s/s) 5dr 90bhp
- 2015 Vauxhall Corsa 1.3CDTi Ecoflex Design 94BHP
- 2015 Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi Ecoflex Elite 163 bhp
- 2015 Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi 16V Ecoflex Design 5dr 108bhp
- 2015 VW Golf hatch 1.6tdi Bluemotion tech S 104bhp
- 2015 VW Golf Bluemotion 1.6tdi estate 108bhp
Do classic cars have to pay to enter the ULEZ?
All vehicles registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency as having historic vehicle tax – which requires the car to be more than 40 years old – will be exempt from the ULEZ.
If your classic car is registered as having historic vehicle tax it will automatically be exempt.
However, it is important to note that it is a vehicle owner’s responsibility to apply to the DVLA for a vehicle tax exemption so they can issue an updated log book to clarify that the car is eligible for charge-free historic vehicle tax.
And if a classic vehicle is used for commercial reasons – such as coffee vans or street food outlets – owners will need to pay to enter the ULEZ.
Are any other vehicles ULEZ-exempt?
A small number of vehicle types will be exempt from the ULEZ charge. These include:
- London black taxis
- Agricultural vehicles
- Military vehicles
- Non-road going vehicles which are allowed to drive on the highway (for example, excavators)
- Certain types of mobile cranes
TfL estimates that 100,000 cars a day will affected by the ULEZ charge being expanded to the North and South Circular Road, along with 35,000 vans and 3,000 HGVs. Based on these estimations, the ULEZ will bring in some £1,987,500 every day for the Greater London Authority. That’s almost £14 million a week, or £723,450,000 a year
Will foreign drivers have to pay the ULEZ?
Non-UK registered vehicles will also need to pay the ULEZ charge to drive in the zone if they do not meet the emissions standards.
That said, the chances of them being caught for non compliance is extremely limited.
This is because gaining access to vehicle keeper information across the EU, in the case of law enforcement, is notoriously difficult.
How much is the fine for not paying to enter the ULEZ?
If ANPR cameras snap your non-compliant vehicle being used within the zone and you haven’t paid to enter the ULEZ, you will be fined £160.
This fine is reduced to £80 if you pay within 14 days of receiving the notice.
Lorry and bus drivers who don’t pay have to fork out a whopping £1,000.
TfL said first offenders will be sent warning letters, though penalties will be issued after that.
Can I avoid driving into the ULEZ?
If your destination is within the ULEZ, then there’s no way of avoiding the payment in a non-compliant car.
However, if you’re most direct route takes you into the ULEZ, you can be re-routed around it.
When ULEZ was introduced in April 2019, navigation and traffic app Waze updated its software so it can not only indicate whether the driver’s vehicle is ULEZ compliant but also routed around the restricted area.
Drivers will receive alerts if their route goes through the ULEZ zone and can choose whether or not to travel that way.
Was the ULEZ Sadiq Khan’s idea?
No. It was actually a scheme conceived by former London Mayor and now Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
However, Mr Khan had accelerated the date for its introduction and proposed for the expansion from 25 October 2021.
Are there discounts for residents who live within the ULEZ?
Anyone living within the ULEZ until now has been able to register to receive a discount of 100 per cent. This was only available for a time-limited ‘sunset period’ from 8 April 2019 to 24 October 2021.
From 25 October, residents will have to pay the full daily ULEZ charge to drive a vehicle in the zone if it does not meet the required standards
Blue Badge holders will not be exempt from paying the ULEZ charge of £12.50 if their vehicle is not compliant with the restrictions
Are there ULEZ discounts for blue badge holders?
Keepers of vehicles registered with a ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicles’ tax class can will be exempt from the ULEZ charge until 26 October 2025, as long as their vehicle doesn’t change tax class.
Blue Badge holders, however, will need to pay the charge unless their vehicle meets the new ULEZ emission standards or is registered with the DVLA with a ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicle’ tax class.
From 27 October 2025 vehicles with ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicles’ tax class that do not meet the ULEZ emission standards will be liable for the daily ULEZ charge.
Will TfL help me ditch a non-compliant car and buy one that won’t be stung by the ULEZ charge?
There is a dedicated ULEZ Scrappage Scheme but it is only available to low-income drivers – and the funds available have almost totally been used up.
In order to be eligible for the grant, a driver needs to receive one of a number of benefits. These include: universal credit, child tax credit, pension credit and working tax credit.
It is also only available to those who live in one of the 32 London boroughs and the vehicle being scrapped must be insured, have an up-to-date MOT certificate and be taxed. Only vehicles that are not ULEZ compliant are eligible for the scheme.
Drivers who meet all the necessary criteria can apply for a grant of £2,000 to replace a car that doesn’t meet the required emission standard criteria with one that does. Motorcyclists will receive £1,000.
However, just a week before the expansion, TfL told This is Money that only enough funds remain to support another 1,500 applicants to the scheme.
Eligibility for ULEZ Scrappage Scheme only with one of the following benefits
Armed Forces Independence Payment
Child Tax Credit
Constant Attendance Allowance
Disability Living Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
Personal Independence Payment
Severe Disablement Allowance
War Pensions Mobility Supplement
Working Tax Credit
How much has City Hall made from ULEZ already?
London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone helped City Hall rake in an extra £107million in the first year it was in place, This is Money revealed earlier this year.
With ULEZ introduced in April 2019, official records for the financial year 2019-20 show that Greater London Assembly’s net profits from congestion charges was £267million, data published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government shows. A year earlier, it was just £160million.
Congestion charge income has been steadily falling from around £258million in 2014-15 and 2015-16 to £230 million in 2018-19.
However, in the first year ULEZ was introduced, income leapt to more than £400million – an increase of 74 per cent.
Where do ULEZ earnings go?
Transport for London states that it does not make a profit from congestion charges and any money received from the congestion charge and ULEZ is reinvested into improving the transport network, including its cycleways, buses and Tube.
However, the AA is sceptical about the claims.
‘All that expenditure they list used to come out of transport spending paid from taxation or fares,’ says Luke Bosdet from the motoring group.
‘Now it comes from targeting users of vehicles going about their daily lives and not having the wealth to buy up-to-date models of cars.
‘What the Greater London Authority gets from charges and fines vastly exceeds the cost of the infrastructure required to implement its restrictions.
‘They don’t spend it on facilities that would reduce all car traffic, regardless of the motorists’ means, such as effective park and ride or park and cycle facilities on the outskirts of London.
‘Yes, the ULEZ will have the desired environmental effect – by pricing poorer people off the road and as to what the financial impact of the ULEZ being expanded will be, we can only wonder.’
A spokesperson for TfL said: ‘The introduction of the ULEZ is not about making money, but about improving the health and wellbeing of thousands of Londoners. Any money received from the ULEZ is reinvested into walking, cycling and public transport.’
Transport for London states that it does not make a profit from congestion charges and any money received from the congestion charge and ULEZ is reinvested into improving the transport network, including its cycleways, buses and Tube
Why is the ULEZ being introduced in London?
TfL stats that around half of emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) come from transport.
It adds: ‘These pollutants make chronic illnesses worse, shorten life expectancy and can damage lung development.
‘The communities suffering most from poor air quality are often the most vulnerable, including the children of London. At least 360 primary schools are in areas exceeding safe legal pollution levels.’
Alex Williams, TfL’s director of city planning, said: ‘London’s toxic air damages children’s lungs and causes thousands of unnecessary deaths. That’s why it is vital we expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone.
‘It is expected that when the zone is expanded up to, but not including, the North and South circular harmful emissions from vehicles will fall by around 30 per cent across the capital.
‘The ULEZ has already been hugely successful with nitrogen dioxide pollution slashed by nearly half in the centre of the city. Large numbers of people are making the green transition ahead of the expansion. In inner London we are seeing more than 80 per cent of cars now meeting the tough pollution standards ahead of the scheme going live in October.
Recent research has shown that the health damage from cars and vans across the UK costs £6billion a year to the NHS and society, with the bill in London £650million.
Officials said expanding the ULEZ and stricter standards for heavy vehicles across London would result in more than 100,000 Londoners no longer living in areas exceeding legal air quality limits in 2021 and all areas in the capital are expected to see reductions in pollution.
Birmingham earlier this year became the first city outside the capital to charge drivers a daily fee for using older polluting motors. Find out if there’s going to be a vehicle emissions tax zone in the cities where you live by reading our full guide linked below
The Clean Air Zone covers all roads within the A4540 Middleway ring road in Birmingham city centre
Is there going to be a ULEZ in my city?
Drivers of older cars across Britain – not just London – are having to come to terms with the concept of emissions tax zones in the most polluted cities.
Under government orders, councils have been told to curb their air pollution levels – and to do so, they should rid their roads of the dirtiest vehicles.
Birmingham in June became the first UK city to introduce a charging zone for car drivers outside the capital, with its new Clean Air Zone (CAZ) demanding an £8 payment each time a user of a non-compliant vehicle enters the boundary around the city centre.
And it’s not the only metropolis that’s going to be demanding such levies from drivers. Some 14 in total will or plan to introduce similar zones for motorised vehicles – five of them being live before the end of this year (though not all will hit the pockets of car users).
> Read our guide to each emissions tax zone due to be introduced and when they are expected to launch.
SAVE MONEY ON MOTORING
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