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The ULEZ is expanding

What is the ULEZ?

The ULEZ is London's Ultra Low Emission Zone. The aim is to reduce air pollution in London by encouraging more sustainable methods of travel, like low-emission or electric cars, and public transport.

As of 29th August 2023 the zone is expanding, and it will encompass Heathrow Airport. This means that all cars driving into Heathrow that don't meet the ULEZ requirements will have to pay a daily charge of £12.50.

How will it affect me?

First, it depends what kind of car you drive. Most petrol cars older than 16 years and diesel cars older than 6 years won't be ULEZ-compliant so will need to pay the charge. Otherwise the chances are you won't have to pay.

To find out for sure if your car is ULEZ-compliant, put your car reg into the TfL website.

If you do need to pay, here are some tips.

How much do I need to pay?

It's your responsibility to pay the ULEZ fee. The charge is £12.50 per day. You need to pay the charge for every day your car is driven within the ULEZ, even if it's just for a few minutes.

So if you've booked parking or a hotel with parking at Heathrow, the chances are you'll need to pay the ULEZ at least twice – once for the day you drive to the airport, and once again for the day you pick your car up. That'll be a total of £25.

If you book a package which includes a hotel stay and parking at an off-site car park, or in other words a car park that isn't the hotel's, you'll need to pay the ULEZ three times. Once on the day of your hotel stay, once on the day of your flight when you move your car to the car park, and finally once more on the day you pick up your car. This will be £37.50 in total.

As a rule, this is how much you'll likely need to pay based on the type of package you've booked:

Airport parking £25
Hotel with parking at the hotel £25
Hotel with parking at another car park £37.50

If your car needs to be moved by the car park operator while you're away, it may be charged again. But in this instance you won't need to worry as the car park will pay it on your behalf.

How can I prepare for the ULEZ expansion?

You'll only have three days to pay after driving in the zone.

You can pay the ULEZ charge up to 30 days before your journey, so once you know what days you'll be driving in the zone it's worth paying it in advance. If you're unable to pay it while you're on holiday you'll most likely receive a Penalty Charge Notification (PCN). So pay as soon as possible, or before you go if you can.