London Low Emission Zone & Ultra Low Emission Zone

The London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) was introduced in 2008 to help improve the air quality in London by preventing the most polluting vehicles from being driven into the Greater London area. To help improve air quality, an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be in place in central London from 8 April 2019.

Map reproduced with the permission of TfL.

London Emission Zones timeline

  • 17 February 2003

The London congestion charge is introduced. The charge applies for most motor vehicles operating within the zone in Central London between 07:00 and 18:00 Monday to Friday (except for public holidays or between Christmas Day and New Years Day inclusive). The charge aims to reduce high traffic flow and pollution in the central area and raise investment funds for London’s transport system.

  • 4 February 2008

The London Low Emission Zone is introduced. The zone stipulates emission standards vehicles driving within the zone must meet. Non-compliant vehicles must pay a daily charge, in addition to the congestion charge.

  • 23 October 2017

A toxicity charge, known as the T-charge, is introduced for mainly diesel and petrol vehicles registered before 2006, but also includes later models. This charge operates within the same area and timings as the congestion zone but is payable on top of the congestion charge.

  • 8 April 2019

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will begin operating within the same area as the current London Congestion Charging Scheme. The ULEZ will replace the existing T-charge but fees will be payable in addition to the weekday charges for the Low Emission Zone and Congestion Zone.

  • 26 October 2020

Heavy vehicles including lorries, buses and coaches will be required to meet the new, tighter emission standards or pay a daily charge to drive within the zone.

  • 25 October 2021

The ULEZ area will expand to the inner London area bounded by the North and South Circular roads.

Low Emission Zone

The London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) was introduced in 2008 to help improve the air quality in London by preventing the most polluting vehicles from being driven into the Greater London area. A charge is payable for older, diesel lorries, buses/coaches, larger vans and minibuses that do not meet the required emission standards when they are driven in the zone. The LEZ applies irrespective of whether vehicles are used for commercial or private use.

Where and when does the LEZ apply?

The LEZ covers most of Greater London. The majority of roads (including those at Heathrow and the M1 and M4 motorways) fall within the zone. However, the M25 motorway is not included even where it passes within the boundary. Transport for London (TfL) have created an interactive map for drivers to check whether locations fall within the LEZ boundaries. This map can be viewed via the TfL website.

The LEZ operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including weekends and public holidays. Once you pay for a day, you can drive within the zone as many times as you like on that day. The daily charging period runs from midnight to midnight, therefore if you enter the zone before midnight and leave after midnight, you will need to pay for two days.

Vehicles parked in the zone but not driving are not subject to LEZ requirements for that day.

The LEZ charge is payable in addition to the congestion charge.

Who does the LEZ apply to?

  • Lorries over 3.5 tonnes are required to meet Euro IV for particulate matter to travel in the zone.
  • Vans between 1.205 tonnes unladen and 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight and Minibuses with more than nine seats and below 5 tonnes gross vehicle weight are required to meet Euro 3 to travel in the zone.

From 26 October 2020 emissions standards, daily charges and penalties will change for lorries, buses, coaches, and other specialist vehicles over 3.5 tonnes being used within the LEZ (Vehicles that comply with ULEZ will already meet the tighter emissions standards)

The new standards will require:

  • Euro VI for buses and coaches over 5 tonnes, lorries and other specialist vehicles over 3.5 tonnes - this is the same as the ULEZ standard
  • Euro 3 for larger vans and minibuses - this is the same as the current LEZ standard

More information about all the standards and charges applying to vehicles driving within London is available through the TfL website.

Vehicle

Standards from 4 February 2008

New standards from 26 October 2020

Larger vans and minibuses

Euro 3 (Particulate Matter)

Euro 3 (Particulate Matter)

Buses and coaches over 5 tonnes, lorries and other specialist vehicles over 3.5 tonnes

Euro IV (Particulate Matter

Euro VI

What are the charges and fines for driving within the LEZ?

Vehicles which do not meet the LEZ emission standards must pay the daily charge if they wish to drive the vehicle in the LEZ. The daily charge is £200 for HGVs, coaches and buses, and £100 for large vans and minibuses.

From 26 October 2020 the charges for non-compliant buses and coaches over 5 tonnes, lorries and other specialist vehicles over 3.5 tonnes will increase to £300 if the Euro IV standard is not met and £100 if the Euro VI standard is not met.

If a vehicle is driven into the LEZ that does not meet the required emissions standards, does not qualify for a discount or exemption and the daily charge has not been paid by midnight on the next working day after the day of travel a penalty charge will be issued. The penalty charge will be issued to the registered keeper of the vehicle and uses the same legislation as Transport for London’s (TfL) congestion charging scheme. Therefore, if hire or lease agreements are less than six months in duration members will be able to make a representation to transfer the fine to the customer.  Members will not be able to transfer fines to the customers where the agreement is longer than six months in duration.

Vehicle

Daily charge

Penalty charge

Reduced penalty charge (if paid within 14 days)

New daily charge from 26 October 2020

New penalty charge from 26 October 2020

New, reduced penalty charge (if paid within 14 days) from 26 October 2020

Larger vans and minibuses

£100

£500

£250

£100

£500

£250

Buses and coaches over 5 tonnes, lorries and other specialist vehicles over 3.5 tonnes

£200

£1000

£500

£100 (if Euro VI not met)

£300 (if Euro IV not met)

£1000 (if Euro VI not met)

£2000 (if Euro IV not met)

£500 (if Euro VI not met)

£1000 (if Euro IV not met)

 

Is there a grace period for LEZ penalty charges?

Vehicles being operated in the LEZ without meeting its emission standards will not be penalised for a first offence. Instead of receiving a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) on the first occasion they are seen, the registered keeper of a non-compliant vehicle will get a warning letter stating that they have 28 days in which to become compliant.

 

The vehicle can be driven in the zone during this grace period. After the 28 days have expired, the keeper will be issued a PCN if the non-compliant vehicle is driven in the zone. In the event of a change of keeper after the warning letter has been issued, any new keeper will not be given another warning.

Options for LEZ compliance

If members’ have vehicles on their fleet which do not meet the LEZ standards consideration will need to be given as to whether the vehicles should be rented to customers who are likely to take the vehicle into London. Members may wish to consider advising the customer prior to rental that the vehicle is not compliant with the London low emission zone standards. A sticker in the vehicle is one simple way of communicating this information.

Alternatively, members may consider fitting an approved filter to the exhaust which could reduce the vehicle's emissions enough to meet the LEZ emissions standards.  The cost of buying and fitting abatement equipment will vary depending on the age, type and usage patterns of your vehicle. More information is available here.

Other options for compliance include replacing the vehicle or reorganising the fleet so the vehicle is not based near London.

 

Ultra Low Emission Zone

To help improve air quality, an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be in place in central London from 8 April 2019. Most vehicles including cars and vans will need to meet new, tighter exhaust emission standards (ULEZ standards) or pay a daily charge to travel within the area of the ULEZ.

Transport for London (TfL) has produced a leaflet giving an overview of the upcoming Ultra Low Emisson Zone (ULEZ) for interested organisations, groups and political representatives.

Ultra Low Emisson Zone (ULEZ) Leaflet from Transport for London (TfL)

What is the Ultra Low Emission Zone?

From 8 April 2019 the current London T-charge will be replaced by an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which will operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week within the current congestion charge area. In October 2021 this ULEZ will also be extended to an area 18-times larger than the original zone.

ULEZ charges will be £12.50 per day for non-compliant cars and vans, rising to £100 per day for non-compliant HGVs. This charge will be payable in addition to the pre-existing weekday Congestion Charge and Low Emission Zone (LEZ) charge. The Mayor also announced intentions to tighten the standards for the most polluting heavy vehicles including buses, coaches and lorries across the whole of London from October 2020.

It has been estimated that 100,000 cars, 35,000 vans and 3,000 lorries will be affected by the new scheme every day. Expanding the ULEZ beyond Central London alongside the new standards for heavy vehicles across the capital is expected to result in 100,000 Londoners no longer living in areas exceeding legal air quality limits by 2021.

Details about the implementation of the ULEZ are available on the Transport for London website.

 

Map reproduced with the permission of TfL.

 

Who does the ULEZ apply to?

The ULEZ standards are:

  • Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category)
  • Euro 4 for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro 6 for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro VI for lorries, buses and coaches and other specialist heavy vehicles

What are the charges and fines for driving within the ULEZ?

The ULEZ daily charge will be in addition to the weekday Congestion Charge and the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) charge. It varies from £12.50 to £200.

More information about all the standards and charges applying to vehicles driving within London is available through the TfL website.

If a vehicle is driven into the ULEZ that does not meet the required emissions standards, does not qualify for a discount or exemption and the daily charge has not been paid by midnight on the next working day after the day of travel a penalty charge will be issued. The penalty charge will be issued to the registered keeper of the vehicle and uses the same legislation as Transport for London’s (TfL) congestion charging scheme. Therefore, if hire or lease agreements are less than six months in duration members will be able to make a representation to transfer the fine to the customer.  Members will not be able to transfer fines to the customers where the agreement is longer than six months in duration.

Vehicle

Standards

Daily charge

Penalty charge

Reduced penalty charge (if paid within 14 days)

Cars, taxis, motorcycles, vans and minibuses

Motorcycles - Euro 3

Cars, taxis, vans and minibuses - Euro 4 Petrol, Euro 6 Diesel

£12.50

£160

£80

Buses and coaches over 5 tonnes, lorries and other specialist vehicles over 3.5 tonnes

Euro VI

£100

£1000

£500

Options for ULEZ compliance

If members’ have vehicles on their fleet which do not meet the LEZ standards consideration will need to be given as to whether the vehicles should be rented to customers who are likely to take the vehicle into London. Members may wish to consider advising the customer prior to rental that the vehicle is not compliant with the London low emission zone standards. A sticker in the vehicle is one simple way of communicating this information.

Alternatively, members may consider fitting an approved filter to the exhaust which could reduce the vehicle's emissions enough to meet the ULEZ emissions standards.  The cost of buying and fitting abatement equipment will vary depending on the age, type and usage patterns of your vehicle. More information is available here.

Other options for compliance include replacing the vehicle or reorganising the fleet so the vehicle is not based near London.

The BVRLA is concerned about the impact the ULEZ could have on businesses operating within central London, as well as the effects on those living and working within the extended zone from October 2021. The association is therefore actively engaging with Transport for London and has shared a set of recommendations. 

 

Further information

Transport for London (TfL) has produced a leaflet giving an overview of the upcoming Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for interested organisations, groups and political representatives.

London Low Emission Zone

Ultra Low Emission Zone