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What Is The Difference Between ULEZ and LEZ?

Find out the difference between the ULEZ and LEZ emission zone, what the London low emission zone is exactly and how it may affect you.

What is a low emission zone London?

The LEZ emission zone charge is an initiative to reduce the pollution from heavy diesel vehicles specifically driving in the capital. This is in an attempt to make most of greater London cleaner and is a charge that operates 24/7 on every day of the year, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

If you’re wondering, “where is the low emission zone in London?”, the roads within Greater London at Heathrow including part of the M1 & M4 are within the LEZ emission zone. The M25 is not included but we advise you keep an eye out for any signs that signal a LEZ emission zone around this area. If you searched for “how to avoid low emission zone London”, You can see all the areas by checking out the LEZ zone, ULEZ zone and congestion charge map.

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What is the ultra low emission zone in London?

Like the LEZ emission zone charge this is also an initiative to lower pollution within central London. If you’re wondering, where is the new low emission zone in London,  the areas covered are now up to but not including the North and South Circular Roads (A406 and A205). This charge is applicable throughout every day of the year except for Christmas Day, unlike the LEZ emission zone that is still active.

Lorries, vans, or specialist vehicles that exceed 3.5 tonnes do not need to pay the ULEZ charge but will need to ensure that they meet the LEZ emission zone criteria.

What is the difference between ULEZ and LEZ?

The first key difference is that they operate individually from one another, they are both government-based tactics to fight against high emissions within London but the criteria, areas of coverage and days of operation differ.

The LEZ, unlike the ULEZ, is enforceable on all vehicles that don’t meet Euro 4 or Euro 6 criteria for both petrol and diesel vehicles. 

If you found this page searching, "can I drive in London low emission zone?”, the answer is yes. However, you must meet a specific criterion with the vehicle you plan to drive within the zone. We advise you to check over the different criteria, so you know exactly where you stand within the LEZ & ULEZ parameters. This will allow you to avoid a penalty charge notice (PCN)

If you plan to hire a van from us, please don’t hesitate to give us a call and we can advise you on which vehicles you must be aware of if driving within the LEZ & ULEZ boundaries and save you the time of finding out for yourself as it can be quite confusing.

What is the congestion charge in London?

The congestion charge is separate from LEZ & ULEZ and is a £15 daily charge if you drive within the set parameters between 07:00am – 18:00pm (Mon-Fri) or between 12:00pm – 18:00pm (Sat-Sun), including bank holidays. There is no congestion charge on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day unlike the LEZ charge that is still active. If you’re looking for where to park in London to avoid congestion charge, and to see the exact areas in which the congestion charge London is applicable please checkout the congestion charging zone map.

How much is London low emission zone charge?

ULEZ is £12.50 daily charge to drive within a ULEZ zone if your vehicle does not meet the ULEZ standards. The LEZ penalty charge is £100 for vans, specialist diesel vehicles (over 1.205 tonnes unladen weights up to 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight), alongside HGV’s, lorries, and specialist heavy vehicles over 3.5 tonnes. It is also a £100 charge for buses and coaches over 5 tonnes that don’t meet Euro VI standards including minibuses.

If your vehicle is a HGV, lorry, van, or specialist heavy vehicle over 3.5 tonnes or a minibus/bus or coach over 5 tonnes which doesn’t meet Euro IV standards, this will be a £300 charge.

How to pay ultra low emission zone London, LEZ or congestion charges?

The TFL pay to drive in London app is the most efficient way to pay your charge. If you would like to challenge a PCN please checkout this resource on how to challenge a penalty charge notice.

For further information on congestion charge London payments and to find out about setting up an auto pay, checkout this resource from Transport for London.

Impact of Low Emission Zones on Businesses:

Low emission zones in London have a significant impact on businesses, particularly those relying on transportation and logistics. Here's how these zones affect businesses and some tips for navigating them:

1. Cost Implications:

Businesses with a fleet of vehicles that don't meet the emission criteria can face substantial daily charges. These expenses can add up quickly and impact the bottom line.

2. Vehicle Upgrades:

Many businesses have had to invest in newer, more environmentally friendly vehicles to avoid daily charges. While this can be a significant upfront cost, it often pays off in the long run through reduced operating expenses and a positive brand image.

3. Operational Efficiency:

Navigating low emission zones can lead to longer routes to avoid the charges, which can impact delivery times and efficiency. Businesses need to plan routes carefully to minimize delays.

4. Compliance and Penalties:

Businesses need to stay up-to-date with the specific criteria for LEZ and ULEZ zones and ensure that their vehicles meet the standards. Failure to comply can result in costly penalty charges and disruptions to operations.

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Tips for Businesses:

To mitigate the impact of low emission zones on your business, consider the following tips:

1. Vehicle Fleet Assessment:

Regularly assess your vehicle fleet to determine which ones meet the emission standards and which need upgrades. This proactive approach can help you avoid unexpected charges.

2. Investment in Cleaner Vehicles:

If possible, invest in newer, cleaner vehicles that meet the emission standards. These vehicles not only save on charges but also reduce your carbon footprint.

3. Route Optimisation:

Invest in route optimisation software to plan the most efficient routes that avoid low emission zones and congestion charges.

4. Stay Informed:

Regularly check for updates and changes to low emission zones, charges, and criteria to ensure compliance.

5. Explore Alternatives:

Consider alternative transportation methods such as electric or hybrid vehicles, or even using third-party delivery services that operate within low emission zones.

Navigating low emission zones can be challenging for businesses, but with careful planning and a commitment to reducing emissions, it's possible to adapt and thrive in this environmentally conscious landscape.

ULEZ Expansion 2023

In further effort to reduce emissions, the ULEZ zone will be expanding from 29th of August 2023 across all London Boroughs. This has been justified due to the outer areas of London having the most health issues related to air pollution. The outer London areas have been identified as having greater health issues than the inner parts and central London. This means if you drive any vehicle that doesn't meet the ULEZ requirements you will face a daily charge of £12.50, this doesn't apply if you are parked inside the zone and don't drive. The value of both ULEZ and congestion charge penalty charges will also increase from £160 to £180. You can see the ULEZ 2023 map highlighting the new parameters effected, alongside the charging times for ULEZ and congestion charges.

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