Here‘s what you need to know about London‘s new ULEZ expansion

The city‘s ULEZ zone just got 18 times larger and will affect 130,000 motorists in the capital

Written by
Rhys Thomas
Contributing writer

The times they are a-changin', someone called Bob once said, and you know what? He was right. As of today, Monday October 25, London's Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has expanded to be 18 times the size it was yesterday, covering everywhere inside the North and South circular (that nice ring around inner London, non-drivers). The move is a bid to cut emissions across the capital, by encouraging people to switch to more eco-friendly cars or public transport. 

It's a big old change that'll no doubt be the talk of watercoolers and annoyed men in pubs for a little while, given it affects up to 130,000 drivers across the big smoke (as it's still known for now). So it's worth knowing what exactly this means and how (or even if) this will affect you. After all, according to The Independent, a survey of 2,005 motorists indicated that only 43 percent were aware of the expansion. This is despite about a million letters being distributed across London regarding the changes. 

So here's everything you'll need to know.

What is a ULEZ Zone?

These started in April 2019. It stands for Ultra-Low emission zone, and it defines an area that has a lot of NO2 (Nitrous Dioxide) in the atmosphere. The idea is to charge drivers a fee for driving a car that emits bad amounts of NO2 into the atmosphere. Generally, these are older cars, so the idea is that people will move onto less polluting cars or public transport. The effect of NO2 on people is that it can damage lungs, exacerbate conditions such as asthma, and cause lung and heart disease. All of which isn't ideal. 

How much would it cost to drive in a ULEZ Zone?

Despite the £160 headlines flying around, it'll cost £12.50 to drive in these zones if your car isn't compliant. The three-digit figure is the fine for not paying the actually charge, which is £12.50. 

Which transport will have to pay?

It's more to do with the exhaust fumes the vehicle emits than the type of vehicle. Cars, vans and motorbikes are all going to be affected. A good rule of thumb is that diesel vehicless manufactured before September 2015, petrol models before 2005, and most motorbikes from before 2007 are likely to need to pay the charges. However, the easiest way to check is to head to the vehicle checker on the tfl website, here's a link to it

Any exemptions? 

Classic cars over 40 years old won't have to pay, and there are exemptions for the disabled. People visiting hospitals will be able to claim refunds on their charges. Oh, and there's no charges on Christmas Day. A present! Other than that, the £12.50 charge occurs 24/7, whether you're travelling for work, a resident, or just visiting.

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