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London Ulez expansion 2023: how to check if you're affected – and the cost

keys and money
keys and money

Holidaymakers will be charged £17.50 to drop passengers off at Heathrow Airport under London mayor Sadiq Khan's latest raid on drivers.

Mr Khan has confirmed the Ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) will be extended to the whole of Greater London by the end of August 2023. This includes Britain's most popular airport, where travellers will be asked to pay £12.50 to drive into the Ulez zone, plus Heathrow's existing £5 drop-off charge.

Unsuspecting holidaymakers risk fines of £180 if they drive into the Ulez and fail to pay the £12.50 charge.

The new Ulez will be 18 times larger than the current area, and all older vehicles driving in London that do not meet the Ulez standards will incur a daily charge to use their vehicle.

Who is affected, and how much will you have to pay? The Telegraph looks at the new charges motorists could face.

What is Ulez?

The Ulez – or Ultra-low emissions zone – was launched by Mr Khan in April 2019 to improve air quality in the capital. It acts as a deterrent to road users with older (and therefore more polluting) cars by charging them a daily fee to enter the zone.

It operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year except Christmas Day.

Which areas of London are affected by the Ulez expansion?

When first introduced, the Ulez operated in the same area as the congestion charge, which currently charges £15 a day. In the mayor’s first expansion in October 2021, the zone stretched to cover everywhere within the North and South Circular roads.

However, Mr Khan’s most recent announcement means that the ultra low-emission zone will cover the whole of Greater London from August 29 2023. This includes Heathrow Airport.

Who will be affected?

Most petrol car owners whose vehicle was first registered before 2006, and most diesel car owners whose vehicles were first registered before 2015 will face the Ulez charge if they enter the zone.

As well as cars, those driving vans and motorcycles – broadly those registered before 2007 – also face the charge.

The new zone will reduce the number of the most polluting vehicles in the capital by a further 20,000 to 40,000 each day, City Hall said earlier this year.

You can check whether your vehicle will be affected on the Transport for London website here. Licensed taxis are exempt.

How much will it cost?

Vehicles which do not meet the Ulez emission standards incur a charge of £12.50 per day to drive within the zone.

Anyone who does not pay currently faces a £160 fine, reduced to £80 for early payment. However, the fine will go up to £180 next year as part of the new plans, reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days.

How can I avoid it?

Electric vehicles are exempt from Ulez charges, no matter when they were built.

Vehicles which qualify for the “historic vehicle” taxation class are also exempt, according to Carole Nash, the motorbike insurance broker. This means classic cars are generally exempt.

Read more about how to avoid the Ulez charge here