London’s ULEZ: Your Questions Answered (September 2023)

In a bid to tackle toxic air pollution and generate funds for the capital’s public transport network, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has been operating in London since the 8th of April 2019.

The ULEZ is an area in which drivers of vehicles that do not meet specific emissions standards are charged £12.50 a day to travel within it. On the 29th of August 2023, the ULEZ was expanded to cover all of London’s boroughs.

In this article, we’ll cover the most frequently asked questions about the ULEZ – where it operates, where the money goes and how to find out if your vehicle is compliant or not. Let’s get started.

Where and when does the ULEZ apply?


As of 29th August 2023, ULEZ applies to all London boroughs and runs for 24 hours a day, 364 days a year (excluding Christmas Day).

Whether you’re travelling in Westminster, Wandsworth, Enfield, Croydon, Barking or Bromley – you’ll now need to check if your vehicle is ULEZ-compliant. Don’t forget – if you don’t pay the charge three days after you travel in the zone, you could face a fine of £180 (or £90 if paid within 14 days).

How much is the ULEZ charge?

As of August 2023, the ULEZ charge is £12.50 for every 24 hours travelled in the zone. The charge applies every day except Christmas Day (25th).

If you’re travelling into London and the ULEZ often with a non-compliant vehicle, consider setting up Auto Pay. If it’s a one-time thing, you can pay online.

You can pay the ULEZ charge up to 90 days in advance of your journey, or by midnight on the third day following your journey (source: TfL). It’s always a good idea to pay in advance of your journey so you don’t forget.

What is the difference between the ULEZ, LEZ and Congestion Charge?

London’s ULEZ affects older cars which are deemed to be too polluting; the LEZ affects commercial trucks and HGVs. The Congestion Charge applies only to Central London at certain times of the day to reduce congestion.

Put simply, if you’re driving into London with your passenger car, motorcycle or van (up to and including 3.5 tonnes), you should check whether you will need to pay ULEZ and the Congestion Charge – you can do so here. You don’t need to worry about the LEZ, as in London this only affects HGVs and Trucks.

If you are planning on driving into London with a HGV or Truck, you will need to check whether you need to pay the LEZ. You can do so here.

For more information on which charges you should pay for, and exactly how much you should pay, check out Transport for London’s website:

Which vehicles are ULEZ compliant?

The easiest way to check if your vehicle is ULEZ-compliant is by entering your number plate into Transport for London’s online vehicle checker

For petrol cars, they must meet Euro 4, Euro 5 or Euro 6 emission standards to be compliant. Most petrol cars registered after January 2006 are compliant.

For diesel cars, they must meet Euro 6 emission standards to be compliant. The majority of diesel cars registered after January 2015 are compliant.

Some drivers and vehicles are eligible for a ULEZ exemption. To view a full list of which drivers and vehicles are exempt from paying the charge, check out TfL’s ULEZ exemption and discount guide.

If you’re unsure about whether your vehicle is compliant or not, don’t leave it until it’s too late – you could be hit with a hefty fine of £180. Make sure you check ahead of your journey by using TfL’s online registration plate check tool.

How do I know if I entered the ULEZ?

The ULEZ is clearly signposted across London, and you will see signs notifying you if you are about to enter the ULEZ. If you’re using a maps app on your smartphone when travelling in London, it should also notify you that you are entering the zone.

To avoid any nasty surprises or fines, you should always check in advance if your journey will enter the ULEZ or Congestion Charge zones. You can do so using the postcode checker tool on Transport for London’s website.

Is ULEZ a scam?

No, the ULEZ is not a scam. The scheme is designed to make London’s air cleaner, and it should become redundant over time as more and more people switch to electric and low-emission vehicles.

According to Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, any money generated from ULEZ is used to improve London’s public transport network through new initiatives like the planned Superloop bus routes.

According to the BBC, the ULEZ (prior to the August 2023 expansion) generated over £224 million in 2022 alone. It’s important to note that much of this revenue is reinvested back into the ULEZ to install and maintain ANPR cameras, signage, marketing and operational costs.

It remains to be seen how the extra revenue generated by the August 2023 expansion of the ULEZ will be reinvested into London’s public transport network. We will keep this article updated when more information is available.

Where does money generated from the ULEZ go?

According to Transport for London, money generated by the ULEZ is reinvested back into the scheme and into London’s public transport network.

The ULEZ scheme costs money to operate. From ANPR camera installation to marketing and customer service, there are operating costs involved. As such, revenue generated from drivers paying the ULEZ charge is first used to keep the scheme up and running.

After operating costs, money generated from the ULEZ can be used to invest in London’s public transport infrastructure. 

Can you refuse to pay ULEZ?

Failing to pay the ULEZ charge will result in a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) being issued against you. This would set you back £180 (or £90 if paid within 14 days). If you ignore the PCN for 28 days, it will increase to £270.

Over time, if you ignore the repeated requests and refuse to pay the PCN, Transport for London can refer it to enforcement agents (bailiffs) to recover monies owed from you.

From the date you receive the PCN, you have 28 days to either pay it or challenge it. If you’re looking to find out more about PCNs related to ULEZ and how to challenge them, you can do so here:


We hope this guide helped to answer some of your burning questions about the infamous ULEZ. Whether you love it or hate it, it looks like it’s here to stay. The good news is that the vast majority of vehicles travelling into London every day are already compliant. There are also exemptions for particular circumstances.

Have I missed anything? Let me know your question below and I’ll add it to the article!

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