The Ultra Low Emission Zone
With climate change being at the forefront of important global discussion currently, the UK government is taking steps to reduce emissions in densely built-up areas. One of the steps they have taken in London is to introduce the ULEZ or Ultra Low Emissions Zone. Since the introduction of this scheme, there has been a 44 per cent reduction in emissions.
What is the ULEZ?
The zone itself is an area that your vehicle must meet certain ‘minimum emission standards’. If your vehicle does not meet these standards then the fee of £12.50 must be paid.
Cars must be petrol: Euro 4 or diesel: Euro 6 to comply with the regulations. Most petrol cars registered after 2005 are compliant, and most diesel cars registered after 2015 are compliant.
Where does the ULEZ operate?
Previously limited to Central London, the zone has now been expanded to the area between the North and South Circular roads.
This area now covers 3.8 million people and is 18 times the size of the original zone.
Who does it affect?
Now that the zone has been expanded, the rule affects more people than ever. Not only is the area covering more residents, but the scheme also applies to anyone travelling within the area.
You will only be affected if your car is below the emission standards and you drive within the zone. Your car can be parked in the zone and charges only apply if you drive the vehicle.
There are a few exemptions to the rule.
Taxis do not have to pay the ULEZ fee as they have a 15 year limit on the age of the vehicle, and any newly registered taxis have to be zero emission capable (ZEC)
Vehicles registered in the disabled vehicle tax band or vehicles that transport disabled persons are going to benefit from a 4 year grace period. They will not need to start paying the charge until 26th October 2025 and owners of these vehicles will only have to pay the fee if their vehicle does not meet the minimum emission regulations.
Blue badge holders are still liable for the charge, unless the vehicle is registered under the disabled vehicle tax bracket.
Mini buses that are used for non-profit organisations in the community will also have a grace period, and can apply for a 100% discount until 2023. After the 29th October 2023 all minibuses will need to meet the minimum requirements for the emissions.
Public transport in West London
You will not be charged a ULEZ fee for using public transport. Ealing and Shepherds Bush are both incredibly well served for public transport so cutting out a vehicle won’t mean you can’t get to where you are going. The area we cover has an extensive bus network (including night buses) to Central London as well as multiple Tube and Overground lines accessible too.
Why do it?
The rule has been brought in for two main reasons. Lowering emissions will be great for lowering the overall greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, and therefore helping with the fight against climate change. It will also help to reduce toxic air pollution. There is hope that we will see a drop in respiratory issues within the zone.
The expansion has already begin, starting on the 25th October 2021.
The charges apply 24 hours a day, everyday of the year.
The hope is that this movement will be the first of many in highly densely populated areas, and that it promotes the purchase of vehicles that emit lower or no emissions.