Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)
To help improve air quality, an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was introduced in April 2019 within the same area of central London as the Congestion Charge. It currently operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year, except Christmas Day. The daily charge runs between midnight and midnight so vehicles travelling into the zone before midnight and leaving after midnight will need to pay for two days.
Most vehicles, including cars and vans, need to meet the ULEZ emissions standards or their drivers must pay a daily charge to drive within the zone:
- £12.50 for most vehicle types, including cars, motorcycles and vans (up to and including 3.5 tonnes)
- £100 for heavier vehicles, including lorries (over 3.5 tonnes) and buses/coaches (over 5 tonnes)
As a general guide, the ULEZ charge applies to diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro VI standards (those bought before 2016) and petrol cars and vans that do not meet Euro IV standards (those bought before 2006). We recommend that you check your vehicle before entering the zone using the following links:
On Monday 25 October 2021, the ULEZ expanded from central London to create a single, larger zone up to, but not including, the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205). A section of the A4 between Chiswick roundabout and Hogarth roundabout is also currently excluded.
The scheme (outlined in green in the map below) was introduced in Chiswick because air pollution limits are still being exceeded in the expansion zone and poor air quality remains the biggest environmental risk to the health of all Londoners.
Charges and vehicle standards are identical to the central London zone. The charge applies to all vehicles, both residents and visitors if their vehicle does not meet the ULEZ standard. Some exemptions are available, for example vehicles with a disabled tax class will not have to pay the charge until 2025. For further details please see the full list of ULEZ exemptions.
Signs at every entry point tell you when you are entering the zone and advance information signs have been installed on surrounding major roads. If you are parked but don’t drive, you don’t need to pay the ULEZ charge.
The ULEZ is enforced by cameras that are able to read your number plate as you drive anywhere within the zone and will automatically detect whether or not your vehicle meets the ULEZ emissions standards. As with the congestion charge, drivers can pay in advance or on the day of travel online using the TfL site.
For more information on the operation of the expanded ULEZ, please visit TfL’s information pages.
August 2023 Expansion
Transport for London (TfL) has concluded its consultation and published an update in November 2022, confirming that the ULEZ will expand to the Greater London Authority boundary (outlined in purple in the map above) from 29 August 2023. Hounslow, which mainly sits outside of the existing ULEZ, will be fully covered by the expanded zone from the end of August. The council provided a response during the consultation process which outlined support for the scheme in principle whilst highlighting the need for TfL to provide transport improvements (amongst other measures) to mitigate the expansion, particularly in the west of the borough.
Deputy Leader of Hounslow Council and Cabinet Member for Climate, Environment and Transport Strategy, Cllr Katherine Dunne said: "As a council we fully appreciate that there will be a range of views on the ULEZ expansion, however this is a London-wide policy proposal to which every Greater London Council is bound and having responded to the consultation, the council is not proposing to oppose the expansion of ULEZ."
As with the existing scheme, vehicles which do not comply with emissions standards will pay a fee to enter the zone. The aim is to tackle the issues of air pollution, traffic congestion and the climate emergency, by reducing the number of higher polluting vehicles that travel in the zone.
Hounslow Council is therefore encouraging residents and those who work and travel through the borough, to check whether their vehicle(s) will be subject to the charge and to keep up to date with the latest guidance from Transport for London. Its webpages contain important details on eligibility for discounts, exemptions and the scrappage scheme which launched on 30 January 2023.