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The London ultra low emissions zone has expanded to a much wider area today (25 October), taking in the everything inside the north and south circular roads to create a significantly larger zone than the previous one, which matched the London congestion charge area.

Cars and vans not meeting Euro6 diesel or Euro4 petrol emissions standards will be charged £12.50 per day when venturing inside the A205 or A406 ring roads, paid in advance or by midnight on the third day after travel, online or via an auto-pay account. Transport for London has a Pay to Drive in London app that covers payments for the congestion charge, ultra-low and low-emission zones.

The zone operates 24 hours per day and 364 days a year, with the exception being Christmas Day. Signs will be erected at every entry point to the enlarged zone, with advanced information signs on surrounding major roads. It is to be enforced by automatic number plate recognition camera.

“Despite recent improvements in air quality, toxic air pollution in London remains the biggest environmental risk to the health of all Londoners. It harms our lungs, worsens chronic illnesses such as asthma, lung and heart disease, and puts the health of our children at risk,” said the Transport for London statement. “Air pollution is not just a central London problem, with many areas across the city still exceeding the legal limits for pollution. Pollution levels are now returning to pre-pandemic levels across the capital.”

According to TfL, traffic emissions are the biggest source of poor air quality, and the central London ULEZ has led to a rise in compliant vehicles from 39% to 80%, contributing to a 44% reduction in roadside nitrogen dioxide.

The money raised will be put back into the transport infrastructure, improving cycleways, buses and the Underground network.

C-charge changes

The separate congestion charge still applies in central London, costing £15 per day between 7am-10pm, and its cleaner-vehicle discount is also changing on 21 October, at which point only full-EV or hydrogen vehicles will qualify. At present, the discount includes plug-in hybrids that emit no more than 75g/km, but those vehicles will be hit by the full £15 from later this month.

A further change is due in just over four years, with the removal of exemptions for EV and hydrogen vehicles. As of 25 December 2025, all vehicle owners will be charged for entering the zone, no matter how their cars are powered.

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