Sadiq Khan expands controversial Ulez scheme today despite thousands of drivers facing £12.50 daily tax

A Ulez sign

Non-compliant vehicles are charged £12.50 to drive in the Ulez

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 29/08/2023

- 06:00

Thousands of motorists will now be required to pay a daily charge of £12.50 to drive their car under the new restrictions

Today, Tuesday, August 29, marks the latest expansion to the Ultra Low Emission Zone as Mayor Sadiq Khan looks to slash emissions rates in the capital.

The ULEZ will be expanded London-wide and cover all boroughs, bordering the North Circular Road (A406) and the South Circular Road (A205).

It is estimated that around five million more people will be affected by the changes, with owners of non-compliant vehicles facing daily charges of £12.50.

To avoid charges, petrol vehicles must be Euro 4, 5 or 6, generally meaning that they were first registered with the DVLA after 2005, although some exceptions could mean they have been available since 2001.

Cars in front of a Ulez sign

The Ulez scheme will now cover Greater London


Diesel vehicles must adhere to far stricter emissions standards, namely Euro 6 emissions, with most vehicles in this band being registered after September 2015 to escape the charge.

Earlier this month, Transport for London’s scrappage scheme was extended to all Londoners with a non ULEZ-compliant car, meaning they were eligible for a £2,000 grant.

Small businesses and sole traders were also given further scope to apply for grants, allowing them to scrap up to three vehicles, an increase from one.

The latest data from Transport for London suggests that nine out of 10 cars, and eight out of 10 vans driving in London are already compliant.

There has been widespread condemnation of the decision to move ahead with the expansion, with many concerned about drivers in and around the capital and their ability to adapt to the changing conditions.

Many have complained that access to affordable electric vehicles is not yet at the required level for such a big switch, especially with the scrappage scheme not covering a significant amount of a cleaner vehicle.

Despite this, Sadiq Khan has remained steadfast in his belief in the scheme, calling it a “vital” policy, in spite of criticism from Labour leader Keir Starmer over the party’s failure to win the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election, which was blamed on the Ulez expansion.

Speaking at the time of the announcement to expand the Ulez across Greater London in 2022, Sadiq Khan highlighted the urgent need to tackle air pollution in the capital.

He said: “The ULEZ so far has been transformational, reducing harmful pollution levels by almost a half in central London.

“But there is still far too much toxic air pollution permanently damaging the health of young Londoners and leading to thousands of early deaths every year, with the greatest number of deaths in the outer London boroughs.

“Expanding the ULEZ London-wide will mean five million more people will be able to breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives.”

In July, the High Court ruled that the proposal to expand the Ulez was thorough, and the decision was completely legally sound in what Sadiq Khan described as a “landmark win”.

This came after the London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon, as well as Surrey County Council, attempted to challenge the Ulez expansion, although three legal grounds were dismissed.

The RAC estimates that more than 691,000 vehicles in Greater London could be liable to pay the £12.50 daily charge once the scheme expands, potentially raising more than £8.6million every day.

This figure could rise to more than 851,000 when taking into account all non-compliant vehicles, and does not include vehicles entering the zone from neighbouring counties like Kent and Hertfordshire.


Sadiq Khan

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has continually supported the Ulez scheme


Transport for London estimates that around 160,000 non-compliant cars currently drive in the area that will become part of the expansion every day.

Based on the estimates, this could see TfL raise £2million every day, with any money made from the scheme invested back into London’s transport network.

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