Driving in London to cost up to £24 a day… with new 24-hour ULEZ charge confirmed

Drivers who own diesel cars built before 2015 and pre-2006 petrols will have to pay a £12.50 ULEZ charge to drive anywhere in London 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The pollution charge – which is on top of the Congestion Charge and takes in a wider payment area – has been confirmed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan. He pledged it will come into force in 2021.

Unlike the current Congestion Charge – which covers Central London – the new ‘scheme’ will expand to include the outskirts of the capital. Here’s all you need to know…

The new charge is coming to London in 2019 with the scheme to be extended in 2021

Who will need to pay the charge?

Anyone who owns a diesel car manufactured before 2015 or a petrol car produced prior to 2006, will be forced to pay the £12.50 daily charge.

When will I need to pay the charge?

This is where it really gets painful – the charge will be payable 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How much will London residents need to pay?

Residents will pay the same as non-residents, there are no discounts. Despite the facts that the less-well-off will be disproportionately hit, they will be paying the bulk of charges to Sadiq Khan.

How many people will have to pay?

The new zone will be 18 times larger than the current Central Zone, meaning tens of thousands of owners will need to pay the charge. City Hall has said 100,000 cars are likely to be liable to pay – generating up to £1,250,000 on a daily basis.

However, industry sources have suggested up to 1.6million Londoners and commuters could be hit. This is far greater than figures from City Hall.

The higher figures, from the Society of Motoring Manufacturers and Traders says the number of vehicles hit by the ULEZ include 782,439 Euro 0-5 diesels and 858,018 Euro 0-3 petrols registered in the Greater London area.

Where is the new payment zone going to cover?

The London ULEZ boundary where the £12.50 daily charge will apply

The London ULEZ boundary where the £12.50 daily charge will apply: Image credit: TFL

The new charging zone will expand right up to the North and South Circular roads – covering largely residential areas.

Will my car need to pay the new charge?

While the age of the car is a good indicator, the declared emissions will dictate if you need to pay.

Furthermore, you can search Google for ‘TFL ULEZ checker’ where you can enter your registration to find if your car is liable.

What are the official guidelines covering cars that are not ULEZ-compliant?

  • Petrol cars and vans must meet Euro 4 emission standards – approximately equivalent to not being more than 15 years old for cars in 2021
  • Diesel cars and vans must meet Euro 6 emissions rules – approximately equivalent to not being more than six years old for cars in 2021
  • Motorbikes must meet Euro 3 standards

When will the new charge come into force?

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has stated the new charge will start on October 25, 2021.

Why is the charge needed?

Research by Oxford and Bath universities claims that ill-health caused by vehicle pollution costs London’s NHS trusts £650million a year.

Is this the only charge being introduced in London?

No! From April next year, the new £12.50 daily charge will be applied across the current Central Charging Zone.

Does this replace the Congestion Charge?

No! The Congestion Charge will run in conjunction with the new Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge – meaning from April, driving an older car in Central London could cost a driver £24 a day.

Luckily I don’t drive in London…

Don’t be too smug – the new charge is also heading for Birmingham, Manchester and Oxford.

Have you got a list of other charges and tolls?

Yes! Find our full list of tolls and other road charges here.


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