From today (25 October 2021) the existing central London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will expand to create a single larger zone up to, but not including, the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205).
Cars, motorcycles, vans and other specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tonnes), and minibuses (up to and including 5 tonnes) will either need to meet the ULEZ emissions standards, or pay a £12.50 daily charge when driving within the expanded ULEZ zone.
The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year except Christmas day.
Motorists can use this online tool to find out if their vehicle meets the emissions standard and the charges that may apply.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Strict emissions standards mean that, as a general rule of thumb, anyone with a diesel car registered prior to September 2015 needs to check to see if their vehicle is liable for the daily charge.
“However there may even be some slightly newer diesels that could be impacted.
“Most petrol cars registered prior to January 2006 will similarly have to pay.
“Blue Badge holders also need to pay the charge unless their vehicle meets the ULEZ emission standards or is registered with the DVLA with a ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicle’ tax class.”
The Ulez has operated since April 2019, but previously only covered the same area of central London as the Congestion 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.
Nicholas added: “We understand there is a need to clean up London’s air quality, but the ULEZ’s expansion couldn’t come at a worse time for drivers that depend on their vehicles, with fuel prices approaching record highs and continued concern about using public transport during the pandemic.
“In addition, the nature of targeting older vehicles means those drivers from lower income backgrounds are likely to be disproportionately impacted.”
Drivers who fail to pay face being handed a Penalty Charge Notice of £160, reduced to £80 if paid within a fortnight.