The biggest environmental issue currently confronting the UK is toxic air pollution. Traffic emissions are the primary cause of the city’s toxic air, especially in London. It increases asthmatic and allergic patients’ conditions and causes lung and heart diseases.
To mitigate this and reduce traffic emissions in the city, the Mayor of London and Transport for London established Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) throughout the city. Drivers in ULEZs would be required to pay a fee in order to drive a vehicle.
If you drive a PCO, we’ve created a comprehensive explanation of the ULEZ fee that explains what it means for PCO drivers, how it affects them, how much money they’ll need to pay, what happens if they don’t pay this charge, and whether their vehicle will be subject to this tax.
What Do ULEZ Charges Imply?
The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge will be established in Central London in 2019 in an effort to reduce the amount of toxic air in the area and preserve the general public’s health. The ULEZ charge is based primarily on the claimed emission, not the age of the vehicle:
The £12.50 daily ULEZ fee can be paid up to 90 days in advance or by midnight on the third day after the trip. Drivers will be given a £160 Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) if they don’t pay the ULEZ charge by midnight on the third day preceding their journey through the zone.
The PCN can be reduced to £80 if you pay it in full within 14 days. The circumstances of the case qualify you to get a PCN from TFL:
- If you are not on the exempt list or are not qualified for a 100 % discount and your vehicle does not satisfy the ULEZ emission requirements.
- If your car doesn’t meet ULEZ emissions standards and you haven’t paid the necessary fee by midnight on the third day after entering the zone.
- TFL has not registered your car.
- You paid the ULEZ fee for the incorrect licence plate or the incorrect day of travel.
- You completed the ULEZ payment by mail less than 10 days prior to your trip.
Since ULEZ charges are paid from midnight to midnight, you are eligible to earn a different PCN for each day that you travelled within the ULEZ on a charging day. PCNs may be given to both UK- and non-UK-registered vehicles.
When Is the ULEZ Fee Charged?
Specific time zones are exempt from the ULEZ charge. In actuality, it is open every day of the week, 365 days a year. The lone exemption is Christmas Day, December 25, when no one has to pay the ULEZ fee.
The locations of the ultra-low emission zones.
All of the areas that are covered by the North and South Ring Roads are included in the Ultra-Low Emission Zones. Previously, these zones did not extend to the South Circular (A205) and North Circular (A406) roads. The Ultra-Low Emission Zones, however, were expanded to cover all of Greater London in 2021, putting an end to this. More PCO drivers will therefore be subject to a daily £12.50 tax for entering these zones if they do not meet the minimal emissions requirements established by TFL.
On the TFL website, you can enter a specific address to see if it is located in an Ultra-Low Emission Zone.
Do PCO Cars Pay the ULEZ Charge?
Absolutely, Even PCO vehicles are subject to the ULEZ charge. The only PCO vehicles exempt from this rule are those reserved for special individuals, patients, and wheelchair-bound individuals with disabilities. If you are a PCO driver and drive in the zone at any time of day or night, you must pay the ULEZ charge.
The only vehicles and groups of people who are completely exempt from ULEZ charges or who qualify for a reduction on their daily ULEZ fee are as follows:
- Fully electric vehicles
- Vintage vehicles
- Private hire vehicles (PHVs) with wheelchair accessible
- Handicapped friendly vehicles
- Minibuses for public transportation
Check this website to determine whether your vehicle complies with TFL’s safety and pollution standards as well as whether you’ll be required to pay congestion and ULEZ fines.
Can I Avoid Paying ULEZ Charges?
If you do not appear on the exempt list, the only way you can avoid paying the ULEZ fines is to switch to a fully electric vehicle. Both the ULEZ and London’s Congestion Charge are entirely cancelled for fully electric PCO vehicles.
In fact, making the conversion to an electric car is smart since you get to enjoy the following benefits:
- Reduced fuel costs
- Zero emissions
- Operational incentives
- Less wear and tear
- Less bouncy rides
- Extensive EV network
How do I pay the ULEZ fee?
As previously stated, you have until midnight on the third day of your trip to pay the ULEZ charge, or you can pay it 90 days in advance.
The ULEZ fee can be paid in a variety of ways. If you frequently travel through the zones, you can either set up Auto Pay for the ULEZ charge, make a one-time payment online, or even write a check. To save you from having to figure out the ULEZ fees for each day you travelled in the zone, many PCO car rentals include them in the weekly or monthly cost of your car.