What Is The ULEZ
ULEZ, or Ultra Low Emissions Zone, is a pioneering initiative aimed at reducing pollution in major UK cities, such as London. As we approach the government's 2035 deadline for ceasing the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles (recently pushed back 5 years), the push for cleaner urban air is gaining momentum. This guide aims to demystify the various acronyms and regulations related to ULEZ, CAZ (Clean Air Zones), and LEZ (Low Emission Zones).
What is ULEZ?
ULEZ stands for Ultra Low Emissions Zone, a designated area within London that has stringent emission standards. Introduced in 2019, it was the world's first initiative of its kind. Drivers of older, high-emission vehicles are subject to a daily charge of £12.50, while larger vehicles like buses and lorries face a £100 daily fee. Vehicles registered outside the UK must also comply with ULEZ standards to avoid these charges.
What is CAZ?
CAZ, or Clean Air Zone, is an initiative similar to ULEZ but is found in various cities across England. Vehicles that fail to meet the required emission standards are subject to charges. There are four classes of CAZ:
- Class A: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles
- Class B: Adds heavy goods vehicles to Class A
- Class C: Adds vans and minibuses to Class B
- Class D: Adds cars and optionally motorcycles to Class C
Locations of ULEZ and CAZ in England
- London (ULEZ)
- Bath (CAZ)
- Birmingham (CAZ)
- Bradford (CAZ)
- Bristol (CAZ)
- Greater Manchester (Under Review)
- Portsmouth (CAZ)
- Sheffield (CAZ)
- Tynecastle - Newcastle & Gateshead (CAZ)
Financial Assistance for London Residents
The Mayor of London has launched a £110 million scrappage scheme to help eligible residents replace high-emission vehicles. Eligibility criteria include residing in a London borough and receiving specific low-income or disability benefits.
Grants for CAZ Residents
Residents living near a CAZ may also be eligible for grants, depending on their local council's policies. Councils currently offering grants include Newcastle, Sheffield, and Bath.
Vehicles likely to incur charges in these zones are generally older models that emit higher levels of pollutants. Electric vehicles are exempt from these charges. Check out our list of the best ULEZ exempt cars.
Cost of Driving in a CAZ
Charges vary by location and are based on the type of vehicle and the duration of stay within the zone.
How to Pay Charges
Payments can be made online through the official government portal. Beware of third-party sites that may charge additional fees.