London Mayor Sadiq Khan's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) scheme is expanding and will affect around 100,000 vehicles across London.

Mr Khan originally introduced ULEZ back in April 2019 as a way of removing the oldest polluting vehicles from the city centre.

From today, the ULEZ Zone is to be expanded to 18 times its original size with drivers facing a £12.50 levy if they want to drive within the area.

 

What areas of London will be included in the ULEZ expansion?

News Shopper: London's ultra low emission zone. Credit: PA GraphicsLondon's ultra low emission zone. Credit: PA Graphics

 

The new rules will see the ULEZ zone being expanded to 18 times its original size. 

Previously, the central ULEZ Zone covered the same area as the congestion charge. 

All areas within the North and South Circular roads will now be included in an attempt to boost air quality.

 

What are the new ULEZ rules?

Under the new ULEZ rules, whether or not a vehicle will be charged will depend on how much nitrogen dioxide (NO2) it emits.

NO2 is harmful to the lungs and can exacerbate pre-existing conditions such as asthma, and lung and heart disease.

The £12.50 daily charges will be enforced all, every day except Christmas Day.

 

Who will be affected?

 

According to Transport for London (TfL), four out of five vehicles registered within the new, larger zone comply with the new rules.

But an estimated 130,000 are not.

Drivers that fail to meet the NO2 restrictions will be given a Penalty Charge Notice of £160.

The fine will be reduced to £80 if it is paid within a fortnight.

Despite the rules coming into force today and over 100,000 people likely to be affected by the changes, a survey of 2,005 motorists by Motorway.co.uk revealed that only 43% are aware of the expansion.

The survey polled at least 1,500 people from London and 500 drivers living within an hour of the capital.

Small businesses, charities and Londoners who are disabled or on low incomes can apply to Transport for London for a £2,000 grant to help them swap out their non-compliant car with a cleaner vehicle.

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

News Shopper: The Ultra Low Emission Zone. Credit: PAThe Ultra Low Emission Zone. Credit: PA

But schemes for vans, minibuses and lorries have been suspended due to “unprecedented demand and limited funds”.

Michael Lloyd, managing director of LTC Scaffolding, said his firm has invested £300,000 to upgrade some of its fleet to meet Ulez standards, but still expects to rack up around £2,500 a week in charges for its non-compliant vehicles.

He told the PA news agency that “most small businesses” cannot afford that expense.

The Ulez expansion is “a good idea” but it should have been postponed for at least six months,” according to Mr Lloyd.

“The only thing is the timing,” he said. “Businesses are on their knees because of the pandemic, and this is just another kick in the teeth.”

The Federation of Small Businesses called for a one-month “period of grace” with enforcement delayed to give firms “time to adjust”.

What vehicles are exempt from ULEZ?

 

There are some vehicles that will be considered exempt under the changes. 

If you own a diesel car, the car needs to have been registered after September 2015 to comply with the new rules. 

For petrol models, cars need to have been registered from 2005. 

 

ULEZ 2021 check

 

Transport for London (TfL) has been calling for Londoners to get their vehicles checked to avoid the fines. 

More than one million letters have been sent to people who have driven within the new boundaries to alert them, while more than 600,000 leaflets have been delivered to residents in the new area.

Drivers can use Transport for London's Post Code checkers to see if they fall within the new zone limits. 

You can also search your vehicle registration to see if your car complies.