ULEZ starts today – But how do you pay? Here’s what you should know

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The Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) is growing from a relatively small area in central London, to blanketing most of the capital. Estimates say more than 100,000 non-compliant vehicles are registered to addresses within the new ULEZ. As older petrol and diesel vehicles face fines for being on the road, here’s how much motorists will have to pay, and when they have to pay it.

London’s ULEZ is widening today, spanning all parts of the city falling between the North and South Circular.

Electric and Hybrid vehicles are exempt from the charge due to a 100 percent “Cleaner Vehicle” discount.

Generally, non-compliant vehicles are those failing to meet the Euro 6 low emission standards.

Most newer petrol cars meet the standard as well as diesel cars registered after September 2015.

Petrol vehicles built before 2006 are likely to fall foul of the strict emission standards.

How much does ULEZ cost?

Within the new boundaries, any motorists driving a non-compliant petrol or diesel vehicle will have to pay a daily £12.50 charge.

The ULEZ applies 24 hours a day, 364 days a year: the only exception is Christmas Day.

Driving through an area covered by both the ULEZ and the Congestion zone means you’ll be charged twice: totalling a £27.50 charge.

If you drive a non-compliant car within the ULEZ zone, you have a deadline of three days after your trip to pay the charge.

Alternatively, you can pre-pay the ULEZ charge up to 90 days in advance of your trip.

If you fail to pay on time, you can be fined a Penalty Charge Notice of £160, though this will be halved to £80 if you pay within 14 days.

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Transport for London (TfL) urges motorists to only make payments through the TfL website, and warns drivers “don’t pay through unofficial websites which may mislead you.”

You can set up an AutoPay account with TfL which will bill you monthly for any ULEZ or Congestion charges you accrue throughout the month.

ULEZ charging hours run from midnight to midnight, so if you make a trip within the zone late at night, you risk being charged twice.

For example, if you make a trip within the ULEZ zone setting off at 10pm one day, and leave the zone at 1am the next, you’ll be charged twice, despite only spending three hours in the zone.

How can I check if my car is ULEZ-compliant?

These are the general criteria for compliance:

  • 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

However these dates are only a guiding principle and there are many exemptions, so it’s best to check your specific model.

To check whether your vehicle is ULEZ compliant, use TfL’s license plate checker tool.

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