The London Ultra Low Emission Zone – commonly known as the ULEZ – is a seemingly ever-expanding geographical area of London that is aimed at reducing local emissions by limiting the types of vehicle that can drive within it. Or rather, forcing owners of older, less environmentally friendly cars to pay a daily charge for the privilege of accessing anywhere within it.
The idea is that these people will instead take the decision to buy a newer, lower polluting car – or not drive at all. Now could well be the time to rush to those value my car type websites and find out how much that older vehicle is worth.
What’s The Problem Here?
The latest expansion, which is due to come into force on 29 August 2023, will mean the ULEZ covers the area that was previously the less severe low emissions zone, taking in every London borough. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 80% of residents in the newly affected areas are reported to object to the plan.
There are two major impacts if you’re one of these people and currently own a non-compliant car. The obvious is that you’ll now have to pay that daily fine if you want to drive anywhere. The slightly less obvious is that if you now want to sell your car a buy a more modern one, you may find yourself struggling to find a buyer. In many states, the straight pipe exhaust system is also illegal.
After all, it’s unlikely anyone else in the immediate vicinity will want to buy it – for the same reason you’re selling it – meaning you need to be able to attract buyers from outside the ULEZ. What’s more, with lots of other people in the same boat, there may suddenly be a large number of otherwise perfectly good vehicles on the market that you will have to compete with.
This means getting the pricing right – hence the importance of a good valuation – and creating an advert compelling enough to make buyers want to travel from further afield. Excellent pictures and plenty of detail are a must…
What Types of Cars Does the ULEZ Target?
To find out whether your car is impacted by the ULEZ you can use the official Transport for London ULEZ number plate checker.
But simply put, the only vehicles exempt for the charge are petrol models that meet Euro 4 (NOx) regulations and diesel models that comply with Euro 6 (NOx and PM).
The V5C logbook document will list the emissions standard, but the number plate checker is probably going to be easier.
There is also an extension on the deadline for the disabled vehicle tax class – until 24 October 2027 – and drivers over the state pension age can also apply for this extended grace period if certain conditions are met.
What If I Want to Keep My Old, Non-Compliant Car?
Then you’ll have to pay the daily ULEZ charge, which is £12.50. This applies 24 hours a day, every day, except 25 December. Enter the zone before midnight and exit it afterwards, and you’ll have to pay twice.
Residents’ vehicles that don’t move don’t have to pay – but as soon as you drive anywhere the fee applies.
The ULEZ cost is in addition to the London Congestion Charge, which is £15 a day but only operates at certain times and covers a smaller area.
You can pay online or by phone – or set-up and automatic payment account.
Failure to pay the ULEZ charge will result in a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). The cost of the ULEZ PCN is £160 (or £80 if paid within the first 14 days).