Drivers entering the ULEZ could be charged twice in a 24-hour period.

A green ULEZ sign in London

The ULEZ expansion goes into effect 29th August 2023

The expansion of the ULEZ this year has been a hotly debated topic, but it’s still going ahead despite the massive opposition.

Currently, the ULEZ covers the entire area within the North and South Circular roads. The expansion, currently set to come into effect 29th August 2023 will cover all London boroughs.

How does the ULEZ charge work?

Driving over or within the border of the ULEZ in a car that does not mean ULEZ requirements will incur a charge £12.50. Vehicles are tracked using ULEZ cameras which scan your licence plate to check if your vehicle meets the emission standards.

While the daily charge itself is only £12.50 per day, the penalty for not paying is £180 – though this is reduced to £90 if you pay within 14 days.

How can you be charged twice?

The charge works on a 24-hour cycle – from midnight to midnight. So, if you set off on your journey at 11:50pm and return home at 12:15am you will be charged twice for a single journey.

This means that people like nurses, and other occupations that work overnight shifts, drivers picking children up from late night activities, or people making emergency journeys to hospitals could be charged £25 for a single journey.

The rail and TfL strikes mean that public transport is often not available after 7pm on strike days, causing more people to drive in and out of London across the midnight cut off point.

The Night Time Industries Association has found that approximately 58,000 people risk being charged twice in one shift. Michael Kill, the Chief Executive, has said the double charge has ‘exposed thousands of night works to additional costs disproportionately for working at night.’

What are the government doing to help?

Not a lot. In fact, it’s estimated that millions of Londoners will ignore the ULEZ when it expands and continue to use their cars due to the less frequent, and more unreliable nature, of the public transport systems in the outer boroughs of London.

That said, Khan has introduced a scrappage scheme worth £110million as a way of prompting people to drive more economical vehicles. The scheme currently supports small businesses, charities, people on low income, and disabled Londoners, allowing them to swap their old, non-compliant vehicles with a newer, greener option so they don’t have to pay the ULEZ charge.

Find out more about Clean Air Zones across the UK.

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