The van driver’s guide to London’s ULEZ

    Updated on 22nd December 2023

    Greater London and the surrounding counties are home to a collective 33% of the UK’s vans. Whether they’re used for business or personal driving, what vans need the most is high MPG, and for that reason, they are still majority diesel. 

    London’s ULEZ, as well as all the other Clean Air Zones (CAZ) and Low Emission Zones (LEZ) in the UK, all require diesel vehicles to comply with one of the most modern emissions standards possible, Euro 6, in order to avoid having to pay a daily charge. 

    To understand more about how vans are affected by ULEZ, read on.

    What vans are charged for ULEZ?

    Diesel vans that are not compliant with Euro 6 standards are subject to the daily ULEZ charge, as well as other Class C and Class D zones around the UK, including Scotland’s Low Emission Zones.

    Euro 6 is a rating that applies to your vehicle’s engine, and refers to how much particulate matter and other pollutants are emitted. The vehicle’s V5C logbook should reveal the engine’s Euro framework rating. You can also check your ULEZ compliance status by entering your reg in our free ULEZ Checker tool. If you can’t find a rating associated with your make and model, or anywhere in your ownership paperwork, you can apply to your manufacturer for a Certificate of Conformity. 

    Most diesel engines made since 2016 are Euro 6 compliant, so if your van is more modern, it’s more likely to comply with emissions regulations and not be subjected to charges, However, it’s worth specifically checking, since non-payment of the charges results in a fine.

    How much does London’s ULEZ charge vans?

    The daily ULEZ charge for non-compliant vans and light goods vehicles is £12.50, the same as for cars. The fine, or penalty for non-payment, has gone up in 2023 from £160 to £180. When paid within a fortnight of receiving the penalty charge notice, the amount payable reduces to £90. 

    The ULEZ daily charge and the penalty charge notice are the same all over Greater London

    Is my van liable for ULEZ, LEZ and the Congestion Charge?

    Vans, whether ULEZ-compliant or not, also have to pay the London Congestion Charge to enter the central Congestion Charge Zone. This costs £15 per day. It applies from 7am until 6pm Monday to Friday, and 12pm until 6pm on weekends and bank holidays. From Christmas Day until New Year’s Day, the Congestion Charge is lifted.

    London’s LEZ has been around since before ULEZ, and currently covers almost all of Greater London. The charges are as follows:

    • Any vans and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) weighing over 3.5 tonnes, and minibuses, buses, and coaches weighing over 5 tonnes must comply with Euro IV standards in order to avoid paying the daily charge of £300. This charge is reduced to £100 if the vehicles are compliant with Euro IV or Euro V. 
    • Vans, minibuses, and specialist diesel vehicles weighing under 3.5 tonnes must comply with Euro 3 in order to avoid paying the daily charge of £100.

    If your van is non-compliant with both ULEZ and LEZ restrictions, and you drive through the Congestion Zone during its active hours, you may be liable to pay £127.50 in total for the day.

    Ulez expansion map
    The Congestion Charge Zone is an area located within the Ultra Low Emission Zone, which is itself within the Low Emission Zone. In August 2023, the ULEZ border expanded to encompass Greater London.

    Is my van ULEZ-compliant?

    Use our free ULEZ Checker tool to make sure your van is ULEZ-compliant before you travel. Particularly if you drive a diesel, or diesel hybrid, it’s worth making sure your emissions rating is at least Euro 6. 

    If you are a rare driver of a petrol van, or alternative fuel van, you should also make sure your van is compliant with ULEZ rules. For petrol, this will be Euro 4 standard. If your petrol van was manufactured since 2006, it’s likely to be compliant.

    If your van is fully electric, you can be confident that it’s compliant with London’s ULEZ, as well as London’s LEZ.

    How do I make my van ULEZ-compliant?

    To upgrade your diesel van to make it ULEZ-compliant, you have several options:

    • Retrofitting a van to be compliant costs approximately £6,000-7,000, with a CVRAS-approved mechanic
    • If your van should be compliant, but TfL are charging you in error, apply for a Certificate of Conformity from your manufacturer
    • Read on below to learn more about the Mayor of London’s £160 million scrappage scheme
    is my van ULEZ-compliant
    Some vans can be retrofitted to be ULEZ-compliant. However, this may be more costly than buying a compliant van.

    Can I use the ULEZ van scrappage scheme?

    The Mayor of London announced a £160 million scrappage/retrofit/upgrade scheme as part of the 2023 expansion of ULEZ. 

    At first, this was only made available to micro-businesses (with ten employees or fewer), charities, and sole traders based within the ULEZ. This has since been expanded to businesses with fifty employees or fewer, and instead of sole traders and businesses being limited to one grant application, they can apply for up to three. Applications are made through TfL. The maximum funding allocated per vehicle is as follows:

    VehicleScrap grantRetrofit grantReplace with EV grant
    Non-compliant van£5,000£5,000£7,500
    Non-compliant minibus£7,000 to scrap£5,000£9,500
    ULEZ scrappage grant amounts for charities, sole traders, and businesses of up to fifty employees

    With a retrofit typically costing £6,000-£7,000, the funding makes this switch much more viable for charities and small businesses relying on vans in Greater London.

    Is there financial support for my van in other Clean Air Zones?

    Some Clean Air Zones (CAZ) and Low Emission Zones (LEZ) around the UK offer financial support for van owners who live and work within the zones:

    LocationMaximum grant to scrap a vanMaximum grant to retrofit a vanMaximum grant to replace a van
    BathN/APreviously up to £4,500, but fund exhaustedPreviously up to £4,500, but fund exhausted
    List of charging CAZ and LEZ in the UK that affect vans, and funding available to support businesses driving non-compliant vans in the zones.

    Most of these funds do not apply retrospectively. If you are considering spending money upgrading your non-compliant van, it is crucial to get in touch with the various local schemes in the first instance, to make sure you don’t miss out on funding. 

    Sell my van

    If you’re thinking of selling your van rather than being penalised by a charging emission zone such as London’s ULEZ, then look no further.

    Motorway offers a simple – and completely free – method of getting the best price when selling your van, whatever the model.

    Motorway valuations are instant and can be done right from your phone.

    Just enter your reg on the homepage and you will be provided with an instant estimated sale price based on up-to-the-minute market data. We’ll then ask you a few easy questions about your van and guide you through the photos you need to take to complete your vehicle profile. It can be done right from your phone – in a matter of minutes.

    If you choose to enter your van into a daily sale, it will be shown to our UK-wide network of more than 5,000 verified dealers looking to add to their stock of used vans. Interested dealers will then compete to buy your van, offering you their best price.

    In as little as 24 hours you will receive your best offer – and, if you choose to go ahead with the sale, your van will be collected for free by the dealer and the money will be quickly and securely transferred to your bank account.

    Selling your van?

    Read about everything you need to know about how to sell your van with more guides here. There’s a lot to learn as Clean Air Zones and emissions standards in the UK change in the run up to 2035.