In just over four months the UK's first ever ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) will be introduced.

Ahead of the introduction on 8 April 2019, automotive data expert hpi is urging motorists to check if they will be liable to pay a levy. It has a free online tool which can be used to check the Euro emissions rating of any vehicle.

Diesel emissions

The changes will be applied to all petrol and diesel vehicles, but it is expected that as many of 80 percent of vans currently on the road in the UK might not be compliant with the standards required by the new zone.

Following the implementation of the zone in London many other numerous Clean Air Zones (CAZs) will be brought in across the country over the next few years. Five cities will be introducing CAZs by 2020 – Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham and Southampton – with the aim to bring nitrogen dioxide levels within the legal limit in the shortest possible time, by 2021 at the latest.

London skyline with moving traffic of bus van and bicycle in foreground

Vehicles that will have to pay the proposed charge are:

  • Pre-Euro 6 diesel vehicles, including hybrids (older than approx. 2015)
  • Pre-Euro 4 petrol vehicles, including hybrids (older than approx. 2006)

Motorcycles built before 2007, prior to the implementation of the Euro 3 emissions standard, will also have to pay when the ULEZ comes into force.

Close up of car exhaust fumes in a traffic jam

For drivers who drive vehicles into the capital that don't comply with the new emissions regulations, they will have to pay a a £12.50 fee on top of the £11.50 congestion charge – it replaces the current T-Charge scheme, where motorists who own older vehicles must pay £10 to drive in the city. The charges will apply once in every 24-hour period (midnight to midnight), seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Newer vehicles and fully electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, as well as historic, disabled or military vehicles will be exempt from the charges. 

Traffic congestion on Battersea Bridge London

"Research has already shown that over a third of motorists had not heard of the Euro Emission Standard classification system, while two thirds of those who had were unsure what category their vehicle fitted in," said Fernando Garcia, consumer director at hpi. "With only four months to go before the changes first come into effect in London, the changes around vehicle emissions could give motorists a real headache and leave them out of pocket."

"Our online check is completely free and allows motorists to check the emissions standard of their vehicle and potentially avoid a fine."