London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is one of many clean air zones in operation around the country, which aim to reduce roadside emissions and clear the city's air.
The zone, which was expanded earlier this year, encompasses each London borough, meaning drivers of some older cars need to pay a fee to drive through the city.
Initially proposed by former London Mayor Boris Johnson in 2015, the ULEZ is a continuation of the T-Charge introduced by Sadiq Khan in 2017, which charged motorists £10 to drive vehicles that did not meet the Euro 4 emissions standard into the central London congestion charge zone.
ULEZ replaced the T-Charge in April 2019. It upped the fee to £12.50 and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, apart from Christmas Day.
In October 2022, the London ULEZ drew over £90 million in eight months, with an average of 1.9 million journeys made into the zone each month.
Plans to introduce an even more restrictive zero-emission zone, meanwhile, in central London were shelved following the most recent expansion of the ULEZ.
Where does the London ULEZ operate?
On 25 October 2021, the ULEZ grew to encompass the area within the borders of the North Circular and South Circular arterial roads.
The ULEZ was further expanded in 2023, now encompassing each London borough - the entire area inside the M25 - as well as Heathrow Airport.
This means drivers of some older cars need to pay a fee to drive through the city, and visit various other important locations.
How does the ULEZ work?
London's ULEZ currently uses a series of cameras at junctions and along major roads into London. These automatically read registration plates and reference them against a database to identify whether vehicles are, or are not, compliant with the required emission standards.
You can check to see whether a postcode is inside the ULEZ on the Transport for London (TfL) website.
If you drive a non-compliant vehicle into the ULEZ, you must pay the £12.50 fee by midnight on the third day following your journey. For example, if you enter the zone while commuting on a Monday morning, you must pay by 00:00 on the following Thursday.