If there was anything good to come of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s that emissions in London went down drastically while the city was in lockdown, improving the city’s overall air quality. Now that the Big Smoke is opening up again, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is taking measures to keep emissions low. The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is about to affect more drivers in the city centre, charging a robust daily fee for those vehicles that don’t meet emission standards.
Knowing your options when it comes to finding parking in London while navigating the new ULEZ expansion will be key to saving a pretty penny and avoiding unnecessary costs.
The ULEZ Expansion Explained
Chances are you didn’t stay busy during lockdown by keeping up with the latest parking laws in London. It could be a costly mistake to accidentally drive into the ULEZ expansion without understanding the implications.
The when and where of the ULEZ expansion
You can expect to see the full effects of the ULEZ expansion starting on 25 October 2021. It operates every day of the year, 24 hours a day, and will be extended just up to, but excluding, the North and South Circular roads (A407 and A205).
When is ULEZ not applicable?
The only day of the year when the London ULEZ doesn’t apply is Christmas Day – 25 December. While this might make it easier to visit family and friends on Christmas, every other day of the year you’ll be required to pay to drive through the ULEZ expansion.
The importance of the ULEZ expansion
Air pollution in London is still a big problem, with emissions currently exceeding legal limits in many parts of the city.
ULEZ hopes to address this issue by encouraging more Londoners to drive cars that meet green emission standards. Since the introduction of ULEZ in 2019, the number of polluting vehicles on the streets has gone down. With more of London’s population getting on board with green transportation, London itself becomes a greener city, contributing to the overall health of the planet.
The vehicles ULEZ applies to
These are the vehicles that are required to meet emission standards, or pay a daily fee:
- Specialist vehicles (up to 3.5 tonnes)
- Minibuses (up to 5 tonnes)
This helpful tool makes it easy to know where your vehicle falls when it comes to emission standards.
Image source (do not include URL when uploading): https://unsplash.com/photos/qAc3UNF8Hm4
The emission standards for ULEZ
As of now, the following vehicles won’t be charged won’t change:
- Motorcycles, motorised tricycles, quadricycles and mopeds: Euro 3 (NOx)
- Diesel cars, vans, and other specialist vehicles: Euro 6 (NOx and PM)
- Petrol cars, vans, minibuses (up to 5 tonnes) and other specialist vehicles (up to 3.5 tonnes): Euro 4 (NOx)
What does it cost to drive into the ULEZ?
If your car doesn’t meet the ULEZ emission standards, driving into the emissions zone will cost you £12.50 per day.
There’s really no avoiding the fee, either. You’ll be charged from midnight to midnight. If you skip out on paying the fee, cameras that capture your plate number, make and model as soon as you enter the zone will charge you automatically.
How to Avoid the ULEZ Expansion
As Londoners prepare for an expanding ULEZ, we’re sharing our best advice on how to avoid the congestion zone and the fees associated with it. Costs accumulated from the ULEZ expansion can add up quickly, but there are a handful of ways to save yourself from accumulating fees.
- Secure a parking space outside of ULEZ
By renting a parking spot outside of the ULEZ zone with a parking rental company like Stashbee, you save yourself the daily charge. Commuting from outside the zone into work is a sure way to avoid the ULEZ fee while contributing to a greener city.
- Opt for a different vehicle
If your car doesn’t currently meet emissions standards, you might want to look at getting one that does. When you drive a car that meets the standards, you don’t have to pay the daily ULEZ fee, which saves you money in the long run.
- Avoid the congestion zone with London car parks
You could opt to park your car in one of the London car parks that sits outside of the congestion charge zone. This is a great option if the safety and security of your car is important to you (and why wouldn’t it be?) because there’s typically someone monitoring the vehicles there. The one downside is that you’ll still be paying for daily parking, but the charge will be much less than driving into the congestion zone and parking.
Image source (do not include URL wehn uploading): https://unsplash.com/photos/dlGhQPIstkQ
A good place to start as you prepare for the ULEZ expansion is to check the status of your vehicle. Now that you know if your car isn’t one that meets the emissions standards, you can choose the best course of action for you – whether that looks like taking public transport into the city centre or renting a parking spot outside of the ULEZ zone.