Ultra Low Emission Zone – Update October 2021

As of the 25th October 2021 the Ultra Low emission zone has been expanded to 18 times the previous size, now covering the North and South circular. With aims of increasing the air quality in London it is predicted that 350,000 Londoners will be affected by the move and expected to pay a fee of £12.50 if their vehicles do not meet the requirements when driving throughout the ULEZ. Drivers who fail to pay the fee will then be faced with a £160 fine, dropping to £80 if paid within 14 days.  On twitter London mayor Sadiq Khan stated ‘We’ve expanded the ULEZ to bring cleaner air to almost 4 million Londoners’ and ‘Doing nothing is not an option’.

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) comes into effect in April 2019

The Mayor of London is bringing the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge forward by 17 months with a new proposed start date of 8 April 2019.

The restrictions replace the existing T-charge and will affect all vehicles entering the capital as it will be implemented across the same area as the existing congestion charge, however the ULEZ will be enforced for the maximum 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.

There will be no charge for diesel vehicles that meet Euro 6 requirements or petrol vehicles that comply with the Euro 4 requirements, however the cost for cars, vans and motorbikes that do not meet the criteria will be £12.50 per day and £100 per day for lorries, buses and coaches.
TFL will reinvest all revenue accrued from the scheme to improve London’s transport infrastructure and help to maintain cleaner, greener more efficient fleets throughout the city and it is hoped that by 2019 the proposals will have reduced emissions by at least 20% (which includes cutting NOx by 50%). Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “This builds on the success of the T-charge and is part of my comprehensive plan to clean London’s air.”

helpful pictogram showing how Ultra low emission zone in london can help with air pollution

Image courtesy of Times of India


Speaking at a transport manager’s conference in Somerset, Ian Gallagher, FTA’s head of policy for the west and south-west, said that within the next few years the ULEZ will probably be rolled out to other UK cities including Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham and Sheffield. It is also speculated that as the London moves towards creating a low emission environment, the changes could trigger a sharp rise in new HGV and LCV sales as operators look to replace individual fleet vehicles with new energy efficient models. Some have even suggested that truck manufacturers may struggle to meet this high demand in such a short space of time.

Conflict Of Opinions

Critics of the scheme include the BVRLA who have stated it is disappointing that commercial vehicle operators have not been given enough time to prepare for these new compliance standards and are calling for special considerations to be given to SMEs. BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “Many of these operators will be small and medium sized businesses that rely on buying second-hand vehicles from larger fleets and can’t afford to go and buy a whole new Euro VI fleet at short notice.”

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett has also gone on record to say that bringing forward the introduction of the ULEZ flies in the face of common sense, as more than half of the UK HGV fleet will not be Euro VI compliant. Natalie Chapman, Head of FTA policy for London, has also stated that the charge may unfairly impact HGV fleets: “HGV operators work to such tight margins that the £100 simply wouldn’t make commercial sense,” she explained, “leaving operators the choice of stumping up for a new vehicle or sub-contracting.”

The new red Tesla Semi truck driving on the scenic road

The Tesla Semi truck – Image courtesy of The Verge


It seems unlikely that many operators will be able to stump up the cash for a brand new Tesla truck, which can reportedly offer approximately 400 miles of range on a 30 minute charge and go from 0-60 mph in 20 seconds while hauling 80,000 pounds. The ‘electric semi’, with its distinctive curves and aerodynamic design could be the key to revolutionising the freight and logistics industry, however Tesla will be competing with Mercedes, Daimler and a multitude of other electric vehicle manufacturers to produce the definitive environmentally friendly ‘truck of the future’.

There are many challenges that arise with new laws that enforce pollution restrictions in any city whilst trying to ensure the local economy can continue to thrive, especially in densely populated and prosperous urban jungles such as London. It is difficult to implement new legislation that is fair to all affected parties, however if governments and businesses can continue working together, the future should hopefully be cleaner and quieter with a better quality of life for everyone.

For further information on the ULEZ, the RAC has put together a brief guide of what you need to know: