London low emission zone (LEZ)
What is the London Low Emission Zone?
The Greater London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) focuses on reducing particulate matter emitted from diesel-engine vehicles (including hgvs, buses and coaches) throughout the 32 London boroughs and the Corporation of London
The LEZ operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and has various compliance stages dependent on vehicle weight and Euro standard. If you don’t comply with the compliance standards then you need to pay a daily access fee or face penalty charges. Cars are not included in the LEZ.
What area does the LEZ cover?
- All public roads are included within the LEZ, in addition to the following motorways:
- M1 south of London Gateway Services
- M4 east of Junction 3
- M4 spur to Heathrow
View a map of the London LEZ
What vehicles does the LEZ apply to?
Hgvs, buses and coaches are currently required to meet the Euro IV standard for particulate matter (PM) emissions. Larger vans and minibuses were included in the LEZ from 3 January 2012 and must meet the Euro 3 standard for PM emissions to drive within Greater London.
Vans and minibuses first registered as new with the DVLA on or after 1 January 2002 are assumed to meet the Euro 3 standard. Vehicles not meeting the emissions standard can be made to do so by modifying them. Alternatively, operators of vehicles that do not meet the standard need to pay a daily charge of £100 to drive within the zone.
Vehicles that came into scope in 2008 were required to meet the Euro IV standard for PM emissions from 3 January 2012. Operators of vehicles that do not meet this standard need to pay a daily charge of £200 to drive within the zone.
How can I get more information?
For help understanding the LEZ, view our London emission zone compliance guide (members only). You can also find advice on the Transport for London (TfL) website. Alternatively, use the downloadable documents and links below for more information.
London Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)
In a bid to further tackle harmful emissions and to improve air quality in central London, The Mayor and TfL will introduce an Ultra-Low Emission Zone from 7 September 2020.
The ULEZ will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the same area as the current central London congestion charging zone. The scheme will apply to cars and motorcycles as well as vans, minibuses and hgvs.
The ULEZ standards will be applied in addition to the congestion charge and the existing Low Emission Zone requirements.
- Motorcycle, moped and similar vehicles - ULEZ standard: Euro 3
- Petrol-engined cars, vans and minibuses - ULEZ standard: Euro 4
- Diesel-engined cars, vans and minibuses - ULEZ standard: Euro 6
- hgvs, buses and coaches - ULEZ standard: Euro VI
Discounts and exemptions
Specialist vehicles - a small number of vehicle types which are currently exempt from the LEZ would also be exempt from the ULEZ. These include:
- Agricultural vehicles
- Military vehicles
- Vehicles built before 1 January 1973
- Non-road going vehicles which are allowed to drive on the highway (for example excavators)
- Certain types of mobile cranes
Historic vehicles - all vehicles that have a 'historic' vehicle tax class will be exempt from the ULEZ.
Residents and vehicles for the disabled - residents who live in the ULEZ and vehicles that have a 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicle' tax class will be granted a three year sunset period with a 100 per cent discount to give them more time to change their vehicle to meet the ULEZ standards
Options to meet the standards
A the time of writing there is no mainstream retrofit solution to achieve the Euro VI emission standard. However, this is a fast-developing area and it is possible a solution may be found for heavier vehicles in the next few years. Such a solution would be suitable for Euro V vehicles only and would not work on older vehicles.
TfL is working with manufacturers to develop a retrofit system for its Euro V hybrid buses, to ensure they meet the Euro VI standard. This could potentially be expanded to other heavier vehicles such as coaches and hgvs.
ULEZ daily charge
Vehicles with do not meet the ULEZ standards, will be required to pay a daily charge to drive within the zone. Charges will depend on the vehicle type.
Vehicle type and ULEZ standard daily charge (if the vehicle does not meet the ULEZ standard) shown in brackets
- Motorcycle, moped and similar vehicles (Euro 3 applies) (£12.50)
- Petrol-engined cars, vans and minibuses (Euro 4 applies) (£12.50)
- Diesel-engined cars, vans and minibuses (Euro 6 applies) (£12.50)
- Hgvs, buses and coaches (Euro VI applies) (£100)
It is possible that a vehicle which is subject to the ULEZ and/or LEZ emissions standards and is driven during congestion charging hours would have to pay all three daily charges.
Failure to pay the daily access charge for a non-compliant vehicle will result in a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). Whilst the PCN levels have not yet been confirmed, it is proposed that this would be £1,000 (reduced to £500 if paid within 14 days) for heavy vehicles and £130 (reduced to £65 if paid within 14 days) for light vehicles.
TfL buses, taxis and private hire vehicles
Alongside the ULEZ, TfL is also reducing emissions from its own bus fleet. By 2020, all double-deck TfL buses operating in central London will be hybrid and all single deck buses will be zero emission. TfL is also working with the taxi and private hire trade on plans to change the licensing requirements for these vehicles. These include proposals for all newly licensed taxis to emit less than 50g/km CO2 with a minimum 30-mile zero emission range and a ban on diesel-engined taxis and a decommissioning programme and possible age limit for older taxis.
FTA has been in discussions with TfL since the scheme was first mooted by the Mayor of London in February 2013. The Association has told TfL that the Euro VI requirement by 2020 will be challenging for many companies, particularly for small firms and those operating certain specialist vehicles. It has also warned TfL that the second-hand Euro VI market is unlikely to have fully developed by 2020 as many large fleets bought Euro V vehicles ahead of the Euro VI mandatory date due to higher purchase prices and fuel penalties of Euro VI hgvs at the time. There is pressure on the Mayor and 2016 Mayoral Election candidates to bring forward the introduction date of the scheme and widen the geographical area to which it applies. However, FTA has and will continue to emphasise that the scheme is only workable for the majority of operators because it is restricted to the central London congestion charge zone and there is a five-year lead time. The Association has also called on the Mayor to offer a discount from the congestion charge for Euro VI hgvs and vans to encourage their uptake in the Capital and reap the benefits of lower emission vehicles ahead of the 2020 start date for the ULEZ.
Need more information?
If you are an FTA member and have a query regarding this topic, or need more information, contact our Member Advice Centre
Member Advice Centre