Sadiq Khan to suspend Ulez and Congestion Charge costs next week in major rule change

Sadiq Khan to suspend Ulez and Congestion Charge costs next week in major rule change

The Ulez expansion in August has proved controversial

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 20/12/2023

- 15:33

Updated: 15/03/2024

- 11:26

Drivers could potentially save hundreds of pounds before the end of the year

Drivers are being warned of huge changes that could see them save money in the coming weeks when driving through Sadiq Khan’s car schemes.

London operates a number of schemes designed to cut pollution across the capital and encourage motorists to leave their vehicles at home.

This includes the Congestion Charge, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez), Low Emission Zone, the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and HGV Safety Permit.

The Ulez, LEZ and DVS operate in the same area, but they are different schemes, potentially requiring drivers to pay for multiple charging schemes.

Ulez sign, Congestion Charge sign and Sadiq Khan

Charges will be suspended before the end of the year


The Congestion Charge operates in central London, while the Ulez, LEZ and DVS cover all of Greater London.

Changes are being made in the coming weeks that could lead to motorists being spared from paying the expensive charges.

The Congestion Charge normally runs between 7am and 6pm on weekdays and between 12pm and 6pm on weekends and bank holidays.

However, drivers will not need to pay between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day bank holiday.

Motorists would normally be required to pay a £15 daily charge if they drive through the zone, which is signposted with large markers in the centre of the capital.

Similarly, the Ultra Low Emission Zone normally operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

This is in operation except Christmas Day, with cars, motorcycles, vans and specialist vehicles being able to skip paying the £12.50 daily charge if they drive through London on December 25.

Lorry drivers will still be required to pay other charges, including the Low Emission Zone which operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

The same applies to the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and HGV Safety Permit, which operate at all times for lorries over 12 tonnes gross vehicle rate.

The Congestion Charge has been suspended at times this year, as seen in August when drivers were able to avoid the fee for the bank holiday weekend.

Tower Bridge was closed at 10pm on August 25 and reopened in the evening on August 28, with motorists following the diversion route being exempt from paying the charge.

Writing on social media, Transport for London reminded drivers that the Congestion Charge would not be in operation between December 25 and January 1, potentially saving drivers around £100.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan made the controversial decision to expand the Ulez in August, despite furious opposition from drivers, residents and politicians.

Within the first two months, around 60,000 vehicles had been hit with a £12.50 charge, with Transport for London finding that 93,700 vehicles had failed to meet emissions standards, with 36 per cent being exempt.


Ulez sign

The Ulez will be suspended on Christmas Day


Commenting on the decision to expand the Ulez, Sadiq Khan said: “The decision to expand the ULEZ London-wide was a difficult one, but necessary to save lives, protect children’s lungs and help prevent asthma, dementia and other health issues.

“I’m determined to continue being a doer, not a delayer when it comes to reducing air pollution and taking bold climate action. The easiest thing for me to do would have been to kick the can down the road, but we simply don’t have time to waste.

“I am not prepared to stand idly by when we have the ability to save lives and help tackle the climate crisis.”

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