ULEZ Expansion 2023 in London
Extension approved for August by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
If you are a driver regularly travelling in and out of London, then news that the Ultra Low Emission Zone is expanding in August 2023 could have a big impact on your journey.
On the 25th of November 2022, London Mayor Sadiq Khan formally made an announcement that the existing Ultra Low Emission Zone will expand from the inner to the outer city, affecting millions of motorists. This article aims to be a guide for the new regulation.
April 2023 Update
Since the announcement was made to increase the current London ULEZ area, there has been a significant amount of opposition from individual London Borough Councils. In fact, a handful of the Tory-led councils feel so strongly, they have launched a High Court challenge against the Labour Mayor which aims to block the August extension.
Dismissing the campaign as a complete waste of time, Sadiq Khan has criticised those that aim to put a stop to his plans of the ULEZ zone reaching the outer London boundary. It is councils based within these areas that are set to fight the zone’s expansion, these include Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon, and even Surrey County Council has waded in to demonstrate its opposition to the proposed plans.
But it’s not just council officials making a stand against the expanded ULEZ, it seems that the general public is also adverse to expansion plans, which will see the zone reach far beyond the North and Circular roads. Recent reports in the news show that people are taking the law into their own hands by removing newly installed Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) ULEZ cameras.
Vandalism and the removal of newly installed cameras by Transport for London (TfL) has been reported in the opposition areas of South London - including Bromley - where the £12.50 daily charge is due to come into force from the 29th August 2023. The police have already made a number of arrests linked to ULEZ camera crime.
Table of contents:
- What is the Ultra Low Emission Zone?
- What are the ULEZ standards?
- The new ULEZ expansion MAP for 2023
- ULEZ affected boroughs
- When will the area expand?
- Why is ULEZ expanding?
- What are the future plans for the low-emission zone?
- When do you need to pay the entry fee?
- How to pay the fee
- What happens if you don’t pay the fee?
- What vehicles are exempt?
- Do electric vans need to pay the ULEZ?
- What happens if you live in the ULEZ?
- What is the ULEZ scrappage scheme?
- Is there a ULEZ scrappage scheme for van owners?
- ULEZ discounts and exemptions
- ULEZ grace periods
- Is my van compliant?
- Can I make my van ULEZ-compliant?
- Rules for vans and minibuses
- Discover a Euro 6 compliant vehicle at Loads of Vans
In this dedicated article on the topic, we explain why the Ultra Low Emission Zone is expanding, what date the expansion will take effect and the rules for vans and minibuses travelling within the area. Read on to find out more…
What is the Ultra Low Emission Zone?
The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ for short) is a scheme that was first introduced to London in April 2019. Originally the scheme was called the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) until a stricter solution was required.
London’s ULEZ became the world’s first 24-hour scheme of its kind, designed to clamp down on the amount of pollution emitted from vehicles driving within the capital city. As a densely populated area, London regularly exceeds what’s deemed to be ‘safe’ levels of pollution, such as nitrogen oxide (NOx) which is emitted from vehicles.
The introduction of the ULEZ is in place to help address the city’s toxic air, which is causing a major health crisis in the city. In a bid to create cleaner air, the new scheme is in place to charge owners of cars that aren’t agreeable with strict emission standards.
As such, the charges apply to cars, motorcycles and vans up to and including 3.5 tonnes, as well as minibuses up to and including 5 tonnes that don’t meet the necessary criteria.
Timeline of the process:
- 8th April 2019 - The Ultra Low Emission Zone was first introduced by London Mayor Sadiq Khan which covered central London.
- 25th October 2021 - London Mayor announced that the ULEZ expansion will be up to 18 times the original size, stretching to all areas within Greater London’s North and South circular roads.
- 29th August 2023 - The Ultra Low Emission Zone will be enlarged even further, reaching the edge of the Greater London Authority area and therefore bordering the M25 in places.
What are the Zone's standards?
If driving within the Ultra Low Zone, your vehicle must meet Euro emissions standards in order not to be charged. The current standards are:
- Euro 3 - for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category)
- Euro 4 - (NOx emissions) for petrol cars, vans, minibuses, and other specialist vehicles
- Euro 6 - (NOx and PM emissions) for diesel cars, vans, minibuses, and other specialist vehicles
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The new ULEZ expansion MAP for 2023
As of Tuesday 29th August 2023, the zone will cover all areas of Greater London. In some places, the ULEZ expansion area will even border the M25 which goes to show just how vast the new area is. Looking at the map below (courtesy of Transport for London) you can see from the areas coloured in light green, where the low emission area will stretch:
ULEZ expansion affects London boroughs
The new area means that all 33 boroughs will be covered by the scheme. Here is a list of all the boroughs (in alphabetical order) which will be part of the ULEZ expansion as of 29th August this year:
- Barking & Dagenham
- City of London
- City of Westminster
- Hammersmith & Fulham
- Kensington & Chelsea
- Kingston Upon Thames
- Richmond Upon Thames
- Tower Hamlets
- Waltham Forest
When is the ULEZ expansion happening?
As confirmed on the Transport for London (TfL) website, the new regulation will come into force as of Tuesday 29th August 2023. From this date onwards, the ULEZ will operate in the newly expanded areas of Greater London. Mayor London Sadiq Khan explains to Sky News why he made the difficult decision to increase the existing zone (video):
Why is the ULEZ expanding?
The Mayor’s ultra-low emission zone expansion plans will benefit Londoners living and working in central, inner, and now outer London too. Reducing the air pollution caused by vehicles in the city will not only benefit people in the city but will help tackle traffic congestion and climate change too.
In an official statement on his Twitter channel, the Mayor said: “Cleaner air is coming to outer London. Today I’m announcing that we’re expanding the #ULEZ London-wide in a move that will bring cleaner air to *5 million* more Londoners.” As part of his clean-up operation, Mayor Khan has launched what’s called the ‘Let’s Clear the Air’ campaign.
Targeted at restricting the most polluting cars on the roads in the capital to improve the air quality, the scheme only allows emission compliant ones to be driven within the area. Any motorist entering the zone in a non-agreeable vehicle that emits pollutants is charged for doing so.
Road transport accounts for about 28% of carbon emissions in the capital, so here’s how it is hoped the ULEZ expansion will help:
- By reducing 10% of NOx emissions from vehicles in outer London
- By reducing 16% of PM(2.5) exhaust emissions from vehicles in outer London
- By reducing the number of non-compliant cars from 160,000 to 46,000 a day, and vans from 42,000 to 26,000 a day.
What are the future plans for the London ultra-low emission zone?
The Mayor has laid out his plans for the capital to become a zero-pollution city. In fact, Mayor Khan feels so strongly about reducing pollution in the city that he has set himself the goal of achieving net zero carbon in London by 2030.
At present, no future plans have been announced beyond the 29th August 2023 expansion date. For the moment, other schemes such as the Congestion Charge zones currently remain unaffected.
When do you need to pay the ultra-low emission zone charge?
The scheme is in force 24-hours a day, 7 days a week for 364 days a year. The only day motorists of non-compliant vehicles are exempt from the ULEZ charge is on Christmas Day (this is because there are no public transport alternatives available).
Whether you make a long or short trip within the zone, you will be required to pay the £12.50 daily charge to enter the zone if your vehicle isn’t agreeable. The areas covered within are monitored by automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR), so your registration plate will be marked when entering and exiting the zone.
If you drive a vehicle that isn’t in line with the London ultra-low emission rules and needs to enter the area, then you can pay the charges for up to three previous days, for the day itself, the next day, or for any custom date range you choose.
The ULEZ is a permanent fixture in London and apart from Christmas Day, there isn’t a time during the day or week with exemptions from passing through.
How to pay the ULEZ charge
The £12.50 daily charge can be paid for online by entering your vehicle details on the TfL website. Simply enter your vehicle’s number plate, followed by the country of registration to find your vehicle and pay the required charge.
If you’re a motorist who pays the charges via Auto Pay, the good news is that the current £10 annual tax to register a vehicle for the online ULEZ payment system will be removed as of 30th January next year.
You can download the TfL pay-to-drive in London app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app will allow you to pay for ULEZ, the Congestion Charge, as well as the standard Low Emission Zone (LEZ).
What happens if you don’t pay the ULEZ charge?
If you don’t pay the daily £12.50 charge on time, then you are at risk of receiving a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). When you drive within the area, you will be given until midnight on the third day following the journey you made into the zone.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the ULEZ and Congestion Charge penalty fees will increase with the expansion from the current £160 fine to £180. However, the fine will be reduced by 50% if it is paid within 14-days of receipt.
What vehicles are exempt from the ULEZ charge?
There are some vehicles that are exempt from the £12.50 daily charge. These include:
- Vans, lorries, or specialist vehicles over 3.5 tonnes
- Buses, minibuses and coaches over 5 tonnes
- Electric vehicles (EVs)
Do electric vans need to pay the ULEZ?
Rather than pay the £12.50 daily charge to enter, TfL would rather sole traders and business owners instead invest in Euro 6 petrol or diesel vans, or even better, go electric instead.
Fully electric vans emit no NOx or CO2 pollutants from the tailpipe, which means they are not only eligible to travel within for free but are also a greener choice of vehicle. As such, drivers of electric vans do not need to pay the daily fee.
What happens if you live in the ULEZ?
Even London local residents who live and work in the low emission area need to pay the £12.50 daily charge - no matter how short their vehicle journey is. However, if you are parked within and don’t drive, then you won’t need to pay the daily charge.
It’s worth noting that there is no discount scheme in place for motorists who live in London.
What is the ULEZ scrappage scheme?
If you’re a Londoner receiving certain types of disability benefits, then you could be eligible for the ultra-low emission zone car and motorcycle scrappage scheme. From the 30th January 2023, eligible applicants can apply to the scheme which is awarding grant payments and/or annual bus and tram passes to individuals.
Sole traders, micro businesses (these are classed as companies with 10 or fewer employees) and charities can benefit from a scrappage scheme aimed at those who drive vans and minibuses. Further details are yet to be announced, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated.
Is there a ULEZ scrappage scheme for van owners and businesses?
If you currently own a non-compliant van, the good news is that you can take advantage of a scrappage scheme aimed at London-based charities, sole traders and micro businesses (those with 10 or fewer employees). Read all you need to know about the Van Scrappage Scheme in our article.
From the 30th of January 2023, eligible applicants will be able to apply for a one-off grant payment to scrap their van in order to purchase a ULEZ vehicle or have it modified to meet the necessary Euro standards.
The scrappage scheme has already proved to be hugely popular since its launch at the beginning of the year. TfL reports that by April, over 5,000 ULEZ scrappage grants have already been issued, resulting in almost £18 million worth of funding going to support individuals, businesses and charities set to be affected by expansion plans.
Are there discounts for residents who live within the expanded ULEZ?
For some individuals and businesses, there will be further support provided to help prepare for the new expansion. Disabled Londoners and providers of community transport will be given an extension to existing grace periods (under the temporary exemptions agreement).
New ULEZ grace periods will be introduced on the 30th of January 2023, providing further information to those who are affected by the expansion - more information can be found below…
ULEZ grace periods
The city residents who need the most support in regard to the ULEZ expansion, are receiving help through the extension of existing grace periods. This means that certain Londoners will be given more time to implement ULEZ-compliant vehicles. These include the following motorists:
- Drivers of vehicles registered as disabled will be given an extension until 24th October 2027 (this was originally set as 26th October 2025). Those who care for disabled passengers and disabled drivers of wheelchair adapted vehicles are also included.
- Drivers of community transport vehicles or those driving vehicles for charitable/not-for-profit organisations will be given an extension until 26th October 2025 (this was originally set as 29th October 2023).
- Drivers of vehicles who receive the following benefits will be given a new grace period (deadline to be confirmed):
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Standard or enhanced rate of Adult Disability Payment
- Standard and higher rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment
- Higher mobility rate of Disability Living Allowance
- Higher mobility rate of Child Disability Payment
Does my van meet ULEZ compliance requirements?
The best way to check if your van is ULEZ agreed is to check your vehicle on the TfL website. Simply enter your number plate and select the country of registration to find your van.
This handy tool allows you to check for free if your van is conforming with a number of chargeable motoring schemes in London, including:
- Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)
- Low Emission Zone (LEZ)
- Congestion Charge
- Direct Visions Standard (DVS) and HGV Safety Permit
Take a look at our ‘Does My Van Meet ULEZ Emission Standards?’ article to discover more about what makes your van ULEZ compliant.
Can I make my van ULEZ-compliant?
If you currently drive a non-compliant van, then your best option is to upgrade to a newer vehicle. However, there is a chance you could also convert your van to be ULEZ agreeable or in compliance - this is known as ‘retrofitting’.
The process of retrofitting means that you can reduce the emissions of an older van’s engine in one of three ways:
- By adding an emission control device (this will monitor the number of pollutants emitted from the exhaust)
- Replacing existing equipment in the engine to make it agreeable
- By rebuilding the engine altogether so it meets the necessary Euro standards
As we explain below, diesel vans need to meet Euro 6 emission standards and petrol vans need to meet Euro 4 emission standards in order to be in line with the new regulation.
ULEZ rules for vans and minibuses
Whether you drive a small or large van, minibus or other specialist commercial vehicle, you’ll want to understand the new rules in more detail. Here is a list of what vans are included and will need to pay the charges if non-conforming:
- Small vans - weighing up to and including 1.205 tonnes of unladen weight
- Large vans - plus 4X4 light utility vehicles, motorised horseboxes, and pickups that are over 1.205 tonnes unladen weight up to and including 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight
- Ambulances - 2.5 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes
- Motorcaravans - 2.5 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes
- Minibuses - with more than 8 passenger seats and not over 5 tonnes
Minimum emission standards fall under Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol vans and Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel vans. The low emissio criteria is based on the declared emissions of the vehicle at the time of manufacture, rather than the age of the van. It’s worth bearing in mind the following two points:
- All new petrol vans registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) from January 2006 should meet the Euro 4 standard
- All new diesel vans sold from September 2016 should meet the Euro 6 standard
To be sure, check your vehicle’s registration document to confirm the Euro emission standard, or NOx and PM emissions.
Discover a ULEZ-compliant vehicle at Loads of Vans
If you drive a commercial vehicle that isn’t conforming with the new regulation and are a regular visitor to Greater London, then now’s the time to upgrade!
Here at Loads of Vans in North Cheam, South London, we aim to help keep the nation moving with our range of Euro 6 ULEZ compliant vans for sale in stock now. We also supply a selection of electric vans for sale which means you can keep your motoring costs to a minimum thanks to zero fuel costs or Congestion Zone charges.
When buying a new or used van, we highly recommend asking for expert advice to make sure you get the best deal. Our dedicated sales team will be more than happy to offer you the best support in your decision. Contact us today!
Discover the best commercial vehicle for the job by exploring our great value for money vans online. From small vans, medium vans to large vans and pickups, you’ll be spoilt for choice - we’ll even deliver the vehicle straight to your door!
Do you want to know how the ULEZ will affect you if you drive a car? Read about the ULEZ expansion for car owners and if you are considering upgrading to a ULEZ compliant car, then check out the Euro 4 and zero-emission vehicles in stock at our sister site of Wilsons Epsom.