With Ultra-Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) now well-established throughout major UK cities, vehicle owners could be hit with daily fees of £12.50, or fines of £180, if their vehicles don’t comply with the specific emission requirements.
It’s not always immediately obvious what those criteria are, though. Luckily, the motor experts at First Response Finance have compiled a complete list of checks you can undertake to ensure your vehicle is ULEZ compliant.
The emission specifications were first introduced in 2019, as London’s ULEZ was established to combat pollution in the centre of the capital. Since then, the zone has expanded to cover all areas of London and many other UK cities have followed suit.
Although the majority of leisure vehicle staycations won’t be taking place in city centres, the chances are you might find yourself driving through one of Britain’s ULEZ zones en route. So, to avoid expensive surprises and help to keep the air clean in our metropolitan areas, take a look at this handy checklist.
Euro emission standard
The first thing to note is your towcar’s Euro emission standard. Ranging from one to six, this defines the acceptable limit for exhaust emissions produced by any vehicle sold in EU and EEA member states.
The rating is based on its year of production, so a Euro 6 standard applies to all vehicles rolled out from September 2015 and, as of now, this is the strictest band. However, from July 2025, we’ll be seeing a Euro 7 rating, which could apply specifically to non-exhaust emission models.
Euro emission standards come into play when you enter a ULEZ area, such as London. In the capital, drivers need to be operating a vehicle that meets at least Euro 4 if petrol, or if diesel, it has to be Euro 6.
If you aren’t sure about the Euro emission standard your towcar or motorhome has, take a look through your vehicle registration document, browse the manufacturer’s website or reach out to your dealership.
Are certain vehicles exempt from ULEZ fees?
Various factors determine whether or not your vehicle can travel within ULEZ boundaries without incurring a charge. Here’s a quick breakdown of the rules, based on the type of vehicle you own.
Any petrol-powered motor must have a minimum Euro 4 emission standard, which includes any vehicle registered after 2005.
A diesel-powered vehicle releases more particulate matter (in simple terms, more pollution) into the atmosphere. As such, there are more stringent restrictions in place for them and drivers must ensure their diesel vehicle has at least a Euro 6 emission standard.
The rules for hybrids depend on whether they are petrol or diesel models. Depending on this, they must adhere to the same rules as the above.
All fully electric vehicles that do not produce tailpipe emissions are permitted to drive in the ULEZ free of charge.
If you’re the proud owner of a historic vehicle, you’ll be able to drive it through London’s ULEZ if it was built before January 1 1973, or if it’s more than 40 years old and has been successfully registered with the DVLA for a historic tax class.
Blue badge holders
On top of vehicle exemptions, there are certain discounts available to blue badge holders, too. Generally speaking, their vehicle will still need to meet the above emission requirements, but it’s worth checking.
How can I check if my vehicle is compliant?
Whether you’re in London, Dundee, Oxford or any of the UK’s other ULEZ areas, it can certainly be confusing to understand whether or not your vehicle is eligible for a discount, or even no charge altogether.
Luckily, there are a few online platforms you can use for this. For example, to find out if you can travel through London’s ULEZ for free, head to the Transport for London website. Similarly, other cities offer this feature.
From there, all you need to do is type in your vehicle’s registration number and select the country of registration, then you’ll have a speedy answer.
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