ULEZ checker LIVE – Angry Londoners fume about ultra low emission zone as leaders gather for crucial COP26 summit

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FURIOUS drivers have slammed the London ULEZ shake-up as "nonsense" as more drivers are hit with charges.

The London Ultra-Low Emission Zone boundary vastly expanded earlier this week, meaning drivers of older cars and vans will have to pay a £12.50 charge for every day they enter it.

It now covers everywhere inside the North and South Circular roads, a huge residential area – and if motorists don’t pay the daily charge, they’ll be hit with a £160 fine.

The ULEZ extension is designed to push people into greener cars, or to use public transport more, to clean up the capital’s air.

It comes as the world's politicians, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, are gathering in Glasgow for the first day of the COP26 climate summit.

Read our ULEZ live blog below for the latest news and updates…

  • caroline.mortimer@thesun.co.uk

    How travelling in London could cost you £27.50

    Most vehicles need to meet the ULEZ emissions standards or you must pay a £12.50 daily charge to drive inside the zone.

    But the Congestion Charge area will remain the same within the zone, and motorists driving older vehicles will still need to pay the £15 Congestion Charge ON TOP OF the ULEZ.

    This means that somebody driving a non-compliant car may need to spend a total of £27.50 to drive into the very centre of London. 

    The Congestion Charge zone is smaller than ULEZ – it covers the City of London, and parts of Westminster as well as of parts of Lambeth on the south side of the river.

  • caroline.mortimer@thesun.co.uk

    End of the road (for fossil fuels)

    The government has confirmed its plans to ban the sale of any petrol or diesel car from 2030 and any hybrid car from 2035. 

    All cars from 2035 will be zero-emission, which means that they will either be battery-electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. 

    Car manufacturers will be given a zero-emission mandate. This means that a certain percentage of all their sales will need to be zero-emission vehicles from the year 2024.

    From 2040, the zero-emission rules for cars will extend to motorcycles and lorries too. 

    This is all part of the Government’s plans to fulfill its mission to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030.

  • caroline.mortimer@thesun.co.uk

    Can I get fined for not paying?

    The daily charge runs from midnight to midnight, 7 days a week, every day of the year bar one.

    Failure to pay will result in a fine of £160 for cars, vans and motorbikes which will be reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days.

    Lorries, coaches and larger vans will be charged £100 a day, with a £1,000 fine for failing to pay on time, reduced to £500 if paid within 14 days.

    These are in addition to any Congestion Charge that applies.

  • Louis Allwood

    ‘Another kick in the teeth’ for small business

    Michael Lloyd, managing director of LTC Scaffolding, said his firm has invested £300,000 to upgrade some of its fleet to meet Ulez standards.

    However he still expects to rack up around £2,500 a week in charges for its non-compliant vehicles.

    He told the PA news agency that “most small businesses” cannot afford that expense.

    The Ulez expansion is “a good idea” but it should have been postponed for at least six months,” according to Mr Lloyd.

    “The only thing is the timing,” he said. “Businesses are on their knees because of the pandemic, and this is just another kick in the teeth.”

  • Louis Allwood

    £160 fines for motorcyclists

    MOTORCYCLISTS are being urged to check their motorbikes are compliant with the new ULEZ system.

    Those riding a bike that falls outside the rules will have to pay a £12.50 charge to enter the new expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone – or risk a fine of £160. 

    Motorbikes, scooters, mopeds and other internal combustion two-wheeled vehicles will need to be Euro 3 emissions standards compliant. 

    That means that if they were first registered after 2007, they’re probably going to be allowed into the ULEZ area without incurring a charge. 

    If they’re older than this, though, they may need to be paid for before they enter the zone. 

  • Louis Allwood

    What are the ULEZ standards?

    To meet the ULEZ emissions standard, your vehicle must meet the required Euro emissions standard for your vehicle and emission type.

    For newer vehicles, the Euro emission standard may be listed in section D.2 of your V5C.

    The ULEZ standards are:

    • Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category)
    • Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
    • Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles

    As a rule of thumb, the vehicles affected include pre-2015 diesels and pre-2006 petrol cars – but you can easily check if yours falls foul on the ULEZ website.

    London Mayor calls for urgent ‘global action’

    The expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone comes as London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for urgent “global action” on climate change.

    Last month, he warned the capital’s schools, hospitals, homes and rail network face being flooded.

    As he launched the Green New Deal for London, an environmental campaign to raise awareness of the crisis, Mr Khan said the capital cannot fight climate change on its own as he called on the government to “match our ambitions”.

    Modern classics to beat ULEZ

    On Monday, London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone expanded 18 times in size to include all areas within the city’s North and South Circular roads.

    300,000 motorists are expected to be hit by the new £12.50 charge.

    The surprise, however, is that a wide range of interesting cars are available that qualify for exemption status. 

    Classic car insurance and valuations specialist, Hagerty, provided a list to ThisIsMoney of eight intriguing modern classics that will appeal to petrolheads, from bona-fide city cars to luxury GTs, that sidestep the ULEZ… for now.

    • Audi TT Mk1 (some 2004-2006 cars)
    • Bentley Continental GT (all from 2003)
    • BMW M3 E46 (all from 2000-2006)
    • Ford Focus Mk1 (some 2002-2004 cars)
    • Jaguar XJ X350 (some 2005-2009 cars)
    • Mazda RX-8 (all 2003-2012 cars)
    • Mini One/Cooper/S (all petrol cars from 2001)
    • Suzuki Jimny (all VVT cars from 2005-2018)

    How to pay the ULEZ

    Most vehicles need to meet the ULEZ emissions standards or you must pay a daily charge to drive inside the zone:

    • £12.50 for most vehicle types, including cars, motorcycles and vans (up to and including 3.5 tonnes)
    • Lorries, vans or specialist heavy vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, or buses, minibuses and coaches weighing over 5 tonnes do not need to pay the ULEZ charge when paying the stricter LEZ charge.

    The ULEZ charge can be paid for on the TfL website.

    Simply confirm your vehicle’s registration mark and the country of registration, before selecting which day you wish to pay for.

    The site will give you the option to either pay for single charging days or Calendar view to pay for a block of charges or a single day in the future.

    • Louis Allwood

      Congestion charge remains same – meaning a possible charge of £27.50

      Most vehicles need to meet the ULEZ emissions standards or you must pay a £12.50 daily charge to drive inside the zone.

      The Congestion Charge area will remain the same, and motorists driving older vehicles will still need to pay the £15 Congestion Charge in addition to the ULEZ.

      This means that somebody driving a non-compliant car may need to spend a total of £27.50 to drive into the very centre of London. 

    • Louis Allwood

      Exceptions to ULEZ fine?

      There are a few groups of people that are exempt from the fines with some being able to pay a discounted amount.

      Some local residents and keepers of vehicles in a ‘disabled’ tax class will be able to apply for discounts and temporary grace periods.

      Blue badge holders still need to pay the charge if their vehicle falls outside the ULEZ emissions standards. 

      London-licenced taxis up to 15 years old are exempt. Minicabs with wheelchair access have a grace period until 26 October 2025, provided they are being used to carry out a private hire booking. 

      Some specialist farm vehicles, tanks, and diggers may also be exempt, as are certain showman’s vehicles. 

      If you drive a minibus for a charity or school – excluding private schools – you can register for a limited grace period until 29 October 2023.

    • Louis Allwood

      Where does money from fines end up?

      Transport for London (TfL) says the cash it receives from the Ulez is reinvested into improving London’s transport network.

      It also said the charge will improve air quality in the capital

      TfL insists it “doesn’t make a profit” from the scheme.

    • Louis Allwood

      What are the standards?

      Transport for London’s “integrated impact assessment” claims about 565,000 cars registered in the capital will be liable if driven.

      To drive in the ULEZ, petrol cars must meet the Euro 4 standard on emissions, and diesels, as well as larger vehicles, must meet Euro 6.

      It is estimated that an additional 100,000 cars, 3,000 lorries and 35,000 vans will be affected by the expanded zone every day.

      Older vehicles, including motorbikes, that don’t meet the tighter emissions standards have to pay £12.50 every day they are used within the ULEZ.

      As a rule of thumb, the vehicles affected include pre-2015 diesels and pre-2006 petrol cars – but you can easily check if yours falls foul on the ULEZ website.

    • Louis Allwood

      Does old car = charge?

      If your vehicle is more than 40 years old, you can apply for your vehicle to be added to the historic tax class. 

      This status means that you will no longer need to pay vehicle tax. It will also mean that you do not need to pay the ULEZ charge when driving in London. 

      All vehicles constructed before 1 January 1973 will be exempt from the ULEZ charge.

      If you drive an older car or motorbike – a diesel built before 2015, a petrol car built before 2006 or a motorcycle built before 2007 – you could need to pay the charge and should check before travelling into London. 

    • Amelia Beltrao

      Twitter users express road rage

      Angry drivers have taken to social media blasting the charges, calling them “nonsense” and saying they attack the poorest drivers.

      One driver tweeted: “Driving in London has become a nightmare…ULEZ everywhere! […] what is this nonsense?!”

      While another tweeted that “thousands of Londoners” would be “trapped in their own homes” because they can’t afford to pay the charges.

      The ULEZ charge applies to any diesel car or van that doesn’t meet the Euro 6 exhaust standard.

      That is basically older than September 2015, although some Euro 6 cars were on sale before that.

    • Amelia Beltrao

      Can I get an exemption?

      Those with vehicles registered with a disabled or disabled passenger tax class will benefit from a grace period after the ULEZ starts.

      They’ll be exempt from the ULEZ charge until October 26, 2025, as long as their vehicle doesn’t change tax class.

      Also, people living in the area who are registered for the residents’ Congestion Charge discount will be granted a time-limited grace period where a 100 per cent discount from the ULEZ will apply to their vehicles.

      The grace period applies until October 24, 2021.

    • Louis Allwood

      How far has the new zone been extended by?

      The first ULEZ first came in to place on 8th April 2019.

      However the new extension which was implemented on 25th October 2021 now covers everywhere inside the North and South Circular roads, a huge residential area.

      Drivers of older cars and vans will have to pay a £12.50 charge for every day they drive in the zone. And if they don’t pay the charge, they’ll get the fine.

    • Louis Allwood

      Can diesel cars avoid the charge?

      Transport for London (TfL) said four out of five vehicles registered within the new, larger zone are compliant, but an estimated 130,000 are not.

      For diesel cars to avoid the charge they must generally have been first registered after September 2015, while most petrol models registered from 2005 are also exempt.

    • Amelia Beltrao

      Can I get fined for not paying?

      The daily charge runs from midnight to midnight, 7 days a week, every day of the year bar one.

      Failure to pay will result in a fine of £160 for cars, vans and motorbikes which will be reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days.

      Lorries, coaches and larger vans will be charged £100 a day, with a £1,000 fine for failing to pay on time, reduced to £500 if paid within 14 days.

      These are in addition to any Congestion Charge that applies.

    • Louis Allwood

      Top tips for car owners

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      • Is it illegal to drive without road tax?
      • Can you be fined for breaking the highway code?
      • How to change the address on your driving licence
      • What does MOT stand for?
      • Is it illegal to park across someone’s driveway?

      How will the zone operate?

      The Ultra Low Emission Zone initially covered the Congestion Charge zone in central London, from the eastern edge of Hyde Park out to around Aldgate.

      And unlike the Congestion Charge, the ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 364 days a year – excluding Christmas Day on December 25.

      • Louis Allwood

        What is the cause for climate change?

        The new ULEZ charge that has been implemented has the aim of helping to reduce air pollution in the capital.

        Climate change is associated with two things, global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns.

        While some don’t believe in it, scientists have long provided substantial evidence including global temperature rising, warming oceans, shrinking icecaps, extreme weather events and more.

        Climate change is relatively caused by human activities and changes in technology.

        Driving fuel efficient cars such as all-electric or hybrids will automatically lower ones carbon footprint because they won’t be using as much gas meaning the amount of emissions released are decreased.

      • Louis Allwood

        What other forms of transport will be easier?

        A better alternative would be to use the Tube service instead of driving, especially for someone commuting within zones 1-3.

        Broadly speaking the ULEZ covers Zones 1 to 3 of the London Underground.

        The new charge is £12.50 for every day in the zone. So imagining a five-day a week commute that racks up to £62.50 a week – without considering other costs such as fuel, taxes and the congestion charge if it applies.

        For adult travelling during both on peak and off peak the maximum they will pay on Oyster is £8.70 or £43.50 a week.

      • Louis Allwood

        Chancellor avoids fuel duty increase

        The average forecourt price per litre hit a record 142.94p on Sunday, with soaring oil prices and retailers blamed for hiking prices.

        The hated levy was due to go up from 57.95p per litre to 60.79p — potentially costing drivers £66 extra a year per car.

        But MPs say they have been privately assured by the Treasury that the scheduled 4.9 per cent rise for 2022 will not go ahead.

        In a major victory for The Sun’s “Keep It Down” Campaign, the duty will be frozen for the second time this year.

      • Louis Allwood

        How likely is it for the zone extension to work?

        One of the criticisms of the Congestion Charge, introduced in 2003, is that it just pushed traffic outwards and onto more residential streets as drivers went out of their way to avoid it.

        But the ULEZ is much bigger and anyone wanting to get anywhere in London may feel doing a loop of the city rather than driving through it is just not worth it.

        TfL is in the process of erecting hundreds of signs warning motorists they will be entering the ULEZ so it will hopefully be easier to spot when you are getting close.

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