From April 8th this year, driving your car across central London will become a rather costly affair, as the new Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) comes into effect.


The ULEZ replaces the T-Charge - a £10 fee for toxic vehicles levied on top of the existing congestion charge. Initially, the ULEZ will be chargeable in the Congestion Charge Zone. 


There will be no exemption periods to the ULEZ - it will be in effect 24 hours a day, unlike the London Congestion Charge which is chargeable from 7:00 to 18:00.


When both charges are in effect, motorists face a £24 fee - comprising £12.50 for the ULEZ and £11.50 for the CCZ.


What if I forget or fail to pay?

Those who fail to pay the new charge will be fined £160 - reduced to £80 if paid within the following 14 days.


The ULEZ is designed to encourage people out of their cars and on to public transport - with a view to improving the capital's air quality.


Fees for driving in the capital are now significant. From April 8th, someone who drives their car across the capital every weekday would pay more than £6,200 over the year.


But not all vehicles will have to pay the ULEZ - if they are certified low-emissions models. The ULEZ mostly affects diesel cars aged more than four years and most vans aged more than three years.


Vehicles included in the new emission standards:

  • Small vans (weighing up to and including 1.205 tonnes unladen weight)
  • Larger vans, 4x4 light utility vehicles and pick-ups (over 1.205 tonnes unladen weight up to and including 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight)


New minimum emission standards:

  • Petrol: Euro 4 - Cars manufactured before 2006
  • Diesel: Euro 6 - Cars manufactured before 2015

Midnight to midnight

The ULEZ runs from midnight to midnight, so someone who goes for a drive at 11pm and returns home at 1am will need to pay twice.


According to London Mayor Sadiq Khan the ULEZ could lower harmful emissions in London by up to 45 per cent.


Mr Khan has announced a £48m scrappage scheme for cars and vans that do not meet the ULEZ emissions standards.


A number of other UK cities are planning similar low emission areas, including Leeds, Nottingham and Birmingham.