Transport for London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which charges more polluting vehicles an entry toll, is set to have its boundary significantly expanded in just a few days.

ULEZ is set to become ULEX, and if you live and drive in London, here's what you need to know before the changes come in on October 25.

What is ULEZ?

London's Ultra Low Emission Zone has operated since April 2019, covering the same area of central London as the Congestion Charge.

Motorists who drive older, more polluting vehicles are liable for the an entry toll, a £12.50 daily fee to drive into the zone using the principle of the "polluter pays".

Even a brief route through the zone in a non-compliant car, or leaving one parked inside the boundary, will incur a charge, with the scheme intended to encourage drivers to swap out their older, less green models.

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Currently, four out of five vehicles are compliant, but thousands are not and have to pay for their vehicles pollutant output.

The daily charge amounts to £12.50 for most vehicle types, including cars, motorcycles and vans, but any weighing more than 3.5 tonnes like lorries, buses and coaches will have to shell out £100.

The deciding factor for whether your car complies or faces a charge depends on the amount of nitrogen oxide (NO2) it emits.

For diesel cars to avoid the charge they must generally have been first registered after September 2015, while most petrol models registered from 2005 are also exempt.

More than 700 cameras monitor the zone, and those who do not pay could be fined £160.

Where is it extending to?

The area in which pollutant cars will have to pay their daily fee will be 18 times larger from next week.

It is being expanded from Monday October 25 to include all areas within the North and South Circular roads.

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In south London, this will stretch into a large portion of both Greenwich and Lewisham.

Most of Southwark is included, whilst portions of Lambeth, Wandsworth and Richmond upon Thames have postcodes in the zone.

The new ULEZ will be in operation 24 hours a day, every day of the year with the sole exception of December 25.

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Some 100,000 cars, 35,000 vans and 3,000 lorries could "potentially be affected" by the new rules every day, according to TfL estimates.

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The transport body added that more than 80% of vehicles in the wider zone will not be charged, up from 39% in February 2017 when the plans for the expansion were first announced.

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Transport for London (TfL) said nearly 10 million people have used its online checker to find out whether they will be charged if they drive into the zone.

Small businesses, charities and Londoners who are disabled or on low incomes who scrap a non-compliant cars and purchase a cleaner vehicles can apply to TfL for a £2,000 grant.

Those scrapping a motorcycle or moped may be eligible for a £1,000 payment.

Schemes for vans, minibuses and lorries have been suspended due to "unprecedented demand and limited funds".


Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "London's toxic air is a health crisis causing long-lasting harm to our children and contributing to thousands of premature deaths.

"The Ultra Low Emission Zone has already cut nitrogen dioxide pollution by nearly half in central London and the expansion of the zone on October 25 means many more Londoners across the city will enjoy the benefits of cleaner, healthier air.

Last year air pollution was given as one of the causes of the death of a nine-year-old girl from Lewisham.

Ella Kissi-Debrah is believed to be the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as the cause of death on their death certificate.

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"We need bold action to clean up London's air and whilst it's encouraging that four out of five vehicles now meet the current standards and won't have to pay the Ulez charge, I advise all drivers to use the TfL checker to make sure your vehicle is Ulez compliant.

"Our scrappage scheme will continue supporting motorists to ditch their polluting cars and make the switch to greener forms of transport as we drive towards a green recovery."

The original ULEZ in central London saw roadside NO2 levels fall by 44%, whilst the number of cleaner vehicles rose from 39% in 2017 to 80%, as well as reducing the number of car journeys.

The scheme is also now expected to make £1.9 million a day so will produce some income for TfL after it makes back the huge set-up costs of around £100m.

Any money received from the ULEZ will be reinvested into improving the transport network - including its cycleways, buses and Tube - and helping to improve London's air quality. We don't make a profit and are committed to reducing our costs.

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Alex Williams, TfL's director of city planning, added: "We don't want drivers to get caught out on October 25, we are advising people to use our checker to see if their vehicle meets the standards.

"If they are liable for the charge we would ask them to consider using public transport, or to walk or cycle if possible, and if they need to drive, consider using a car club whose fleets are fully Ulez compliant, or switching to the cleanest vehicle."

You can determine whether your own vehicle is liable for the ULEZ fee via TfL’s number plate checker and whether the area you are visiting is within its boundary via the postcode checker.