ULEZ expansion 2023 – latest news and map
Last updated 13th November, 2023
Latest news: While Greater London’s expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone remains contentious, reports in November show that the scrappage scheme has paid out over £61 million so far in grants – enough for well over 20,000 Londoners, charities, and small businesses to have made use of the scheme. It remains open now.
It’s also been reported that 60,000 drivers per day are paying the daily £12.50 fee to enter or move within the zone, generating approx £730,000 per day for TfL to fund the implementation of the zone, and other clean air projects.
These figures come despite recent research by Motorway that 52% of drivers felt they would not be able to afford the ULEZ charge.
Another figure that’s been prominent in the news this month is the estimated £10 million in damages inflicted on the ANPR cameras used to implement the zone. Protestors have vandalised, obscured, and in some cases cut down the pole-mounted cameras that scan number plates in order to charge non-compliant vehicles.
Read on to find out how the expansion might affect you, and what you can do to avoid having to pay the daily charge of £12.50.
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ULEZ expansion in 2023: everything you need to know
The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London has been in effect since April 2019. When it was first introduced, it followed the same map as the Congestion Charge. In October 2021, it was expanded to a larger portion of central London, with borders at (but not including) the North Circular Road (A406) and the South Circular Road (A205), protecting 4 million Londoners from the health risks associated with high emissions.
It expanded once again on the 29 August 2023 to cover the area of Greater London, to reduce emissions in the capital for a further 5 million people who live there. While the geographical area has changed, the charge is fixed and so are the conditions of compliance.
The daily charge to drive a non-compliant car or van inside the zone is £12.50. This charge is applicable in addition to the Congestion Charge. You can check your car’s ULEZ compliance for free with our ULEZ checker, and you can sell your car if it’s non-compliant, or if you wish to take advantage of buoyant prices for ULEZ-compliant vehicles.
On 22 August 2023, Sadiq Khan expanded the established £2,000 ULEZ grant to all Londoners with non-compliant vehicles. The scheme is available to any household with a non-compliant car or motorcycle, and is expected to cost £160m.
For more information about the expansion of the ULEZ, read on.
What is the ULEZ for?
The zone is intended to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and particulate matter in London, both of which regularly exceed safe levels. These pollutants are strongly associated with health risks, climate change, air pollution, and congestion. It’s been recorded that 40,000 people die in the UK every year due to poor air quality.
The only fuel type guaranteed to avoid the daily charge is fully electric, with the caveat that the car must be able to drive on pure electric power for at least 20 miles. Find out more about ULEZ regulations in our ultimate guide to ULEZ.
ULEZ expansion in 2023
The Mayor of London and TfL expanded London’s ULEZ on the 29th August 2023 in order to cut pollution around the capital. The expansion covers all 33 boroughs of Greater London, in some places bordering the M25.
Following the initial proposals for the expansion, which were announced in March 2022, there were five months of public consultations. About 60% of respondents were not in favour of the expansion. However, the Mayor explained the importance of this policy: “The latest evidence shows that air pollution is making us sick from cradle to the grave. Londoners are developing life-changing illnesses such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma. And it’s especially dangerous for children.”
It is important to note that, at the time of writing, an estimated 96% of all vehicles in London are already ULEZ-compliant. When the ULEZ scheme was first announced in 2017, only 39% of vehicles were compliant. Compliance in Outer London is already at an estimated 85%, before the expanded zone becomes a reality, suggesting that the standards encouraged by the ULEZ charge are not extremely difficult to achieve compliance with. However, some have concerns that the levy does disproportionately affect Londoners on low incomes and with disabilities.
The ULEZ policy already contains several key components to avoid disabled and low-income Londoners being disproportionately affected. This includes a £160m scrappage scheme being introduced to help households trade up to ULEZ-compliant vehicles. There will also be additional bus routes in the suburbs and Outer London, to cut down on road traffic between public transit stations.
TfL and the Mayor’s office are expected to elaborate on bus route plans in 2023. So far, we know that one million extra km will be added to Greater London’s bus network and the first areas to benefit will be:
- Brent Cross
- Harold Hill & Upminster
- Harrow & Wealdstone
- Wood Green
Along with the expansion, we are seeing a rise in the penalty for not paying the ULEZ charge on time. As of January 2023, it has already increased from £160 to £180. Payment of the penalty within fourteen days means that it is reduced to £90. Learn more about penalties in our guide to paying ULEZ fines and cutting them in half.
What are the details of the ULEZ scrappage scheme in 2023?
A new £160m ULEZ scrappage scheme was introduced by Transport for London (TfL) in August 2023, making any Londoner with a non-compliant car eligible for a £2,000 grant. Applications are being processed in a matter of days – and London’s non-compliant car owners are being urged to apply for a grant as soon as possible to avoid ULEZ charges.
The ULEZ expansion in 2023 comes with grace periods for Londoners with disabilities, and anybody who is experiencing delays in getting a new, compliant vehicle. There will also be a grace period and/or exemptions for:
- Owners of registered ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger’ vehicles will be exempt from the ULEZ charge until October 26th 2027. The same goes for Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicles (WAVs), blue badge holders, and drivers with disabled benefits.
- Minibuses for community transport will also have a grace period until October 2025.
- London-licensed taxis are exempt from ULEZ charges.
- All vehicles registered before January 1st 1973 (historical vehicle tax class) are exempt, including commercial use. And the rolling 40-year period for vehicles to stop paying tax will also apply to the ULEZ charge.
Additionally, Londoners who have disabilities or who receive means-tested benefits can scrap their non-compliant vehicle to receive a full grant, or a partial grant plus one or two annual TfL Bus and Tram Passes (which, in total, is worth more than the full scrap grant). Two bus passes at £932 each, with a partial grant of £1,200, comes in total to over £3,000.
|Vehicle||Full scrap grant|
|Motorbike below Euro 5 standard||£1,000|
|Petrol car below Euro 4 standard||£2,000|
|Diesel car below Euro 6 standard||£2,000|
|Non-compliant wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV)||£5,000 to scrap or retrofit|
The scrappage scheme for charities, sole traders and businesses of fifty employees or fewer is as follows:
|Vehicle||Scrap grant||Retrofit grant||Replace with EV grant|
|Non-compliant minibus||£7,000 to scrap||£5,000||£9,500|
For full terms and conditions of the flagship TfL ULEZ scrappage scheme, consult the TfL website.
Where is the new ULEZ zone?
Along with the ULEZ expansion, comes a major expansion to bus networks throughout Outer London, measured to add an additional million km of services.
What are the new ULEZ rules?
The latest European Emission Standards framework was the Euro 6 for light passenger and commercial vehicles, which came into effect in 2014 and was revised to 6d in 2020. These standards dictate the levels of CO, NOx, particulate matter, and other pollutants that newly built petrol and diesel cars may emit.
Currently, ULEZ charges are based on petrol vehicles that do not comply with Euro 4, an earlier emissions standard, and diesel vehicles that do not comply with Euro 6d. Check our guide for more information on which cars are currently exempt.
There are proposals in place for Euro 7 to be defined and ratified in 2025. This means the new ULEZ expansion in 2023 will remain based on the existing Emission Standards, at least until they change.
It costs £12.50 to drive a non-ULEZ-compliant vehicle in the 14 boroughs within the North and South Circular roads. The price will remain the same when the ULEZ expands in August. The only increased price within ULEZ policy is the penalty, which has risen from £160 to £180, already in January 2023. The penalty is reduced to £90 when paid within fourteen days. For more on penalties, read our guide on cutting the ULEZ charge in half.
Is the congestion zone expanding?
The congestion zone terms were updated in early 2021, following some emergency measures that were passed in 2020 to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The congestion charge is set at £15 per day for residents within the zone, and drivers who enter the zone during the following hours: 07:00-18:00 Mon-Fri, 12:00-18:00 Sat-Sun and bank holidays. No charge between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day bank holiday (inclusive).
At the time of writing, there is no further proposed change to the Congestion Zone, which is still a small area in Central London.
Was the ULEZ expansion delayed?
No, it wasn’t. On 28 July 2023, the High Court ruled against challenges to ULEZ that were made by five Greater London area councils. Therefore, the expansion of ULEZ went ahead as planned on 29 August 2023.
Was there any action against the ULEZ expansion?
The ULEZ expansion comes under the remit of TfL and the Mayor of London. Since 2000s Transport Act, local authorities have been responsible for such transport policies as Clean Air Zones. Therefore, despite changes within the main government and cabinet throughout recent years, clean air policies are governed locally and unaffected.
After the announcement in March 2022 of the second expansion, TfL opened a survey for five months so the public could give feedback on the ULEZ expansion and share any concerns they may have had. This survey closed in August 2022, and TfL and the Mayor of London confirmed that the plans were going ahead.
Selling your car?
- ULEZ Charge: How to pay a ULEZ fine and cut it in half
- The van driver’s guide to ULEZ
- ULEZ – the ultimate guide
- The ultimate guide to the LEZ
- Birmingham clean air zone (CAZ)
- Birmingham congestion charge zone
- Euro 6 compliance & emission standards
- Car CO2 emissions guide
- London congestion charge zone
- Oxford zero emission zone
- Bristol clean air zone
- ULEZ-compliant cars – the ultimate guide
- ULEZ FAQs