London ULEZ: What is the Ultra-Low Emission Zone?




As with many other cities across the globe, London is struggling with air pollution. This has led it to follow the lead of other cities and develop and implement measures to tackle this pollution. The first fruit of this new approach has been to charge high-polluting vehicles a daily fee to enter a set area in the city.

ULEZ – what does it mean?

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) came into effect on 8th April 2019 and covers the same area as the London Congestion Charge. This is from Liverpool Street and Tower Bridge in the East across to Marble Arch in the West, up to King’s Cross/Euston in the North and down to Elephant and Castle in the South.

Further to these current measures, a city-wide Low Emission Zone (LEZ) will begin for larger vehicles  (over 3.5 tonnes) as of 26th October 2020. The ULEZ will then expand to all inner London boroughs on 25th October 2021.

What charges does the ULEZ entail?

Under the ULEZ, diesel vehicles that were registered before 2015 and do not meet Euro 6 standards will be affected. Petrol cars and vans which were registered before 2006 and do not meet Euro 4 standards will also be charged. The current daily charge is £12.50 for cars, smaller vans, motorbikes and other lighter vehicles, and £100 for lorries, buses, coaches and other heavier vehicles that enter the ULEZ.

What are the health and environmental benefits of the ULEZ?

It’s predicted that between 28,000 and 36,000 premature deaths in the UK could be linked to long term pollution exposure. Almost 1/4 of these deaths occur in the capital, where transport is thought to account for half of the pollution.

TfL estimates that the initial ULEZ implementation will reduce road vehicle exhaust emissions in Central London by roughly 45% by the end of 2020. In addition, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan claims that by 2025 the ULEZ will ensure every school in the capital meets legal pollution limits. The ULEZ could also see the gap in air quality between London’s lowest and highest-income areas reduced by up to 70% in 2025.

ULEZ will be a boon for air quality in London

Conal Kearney, Head of Air at REC, said “the implementation of the ULEZ across London can only be a good thing for reducing air pollution in the city. It is great news for the air quality consultancy work we assist clients with in London. Hopefully, the ULEZ will show a measurable improvement in London’s air quality when we undertake consultancy work on behalf of our clients.”