What is a clean air zone?

What is a ULEZ-compliant car?

What is London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone, which cars does it affect and which cars are ULEZ-compliant? Our guide explains everything you need to know.

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By Cazoo editorial team

What does ULEZ-compliant mean?

The term ULEZ-compliant refers to any vehicle that meets the environmental requirements to drive into an Ultra Low Emissions Zone without being charged a fee. The standards apply to every type of vehicle including cars, vans, lorries, coaches and motorbikes. However, the standards differ for petrol and diesel engines and we’ll cover them in more detail below.

What is ULEZ?

Central London is now covered by the ULEZ, the ultra-low emissions zone in which more-polluting cars are charged a daily fee to enter. The zone is designed to improve air quality by encouraging people to switch to lower-emission cars or to use public transport, walk or cycle when travelling in London.

The zone covers a large area bordered by the North and South Circular roads, and there are plans to extend it to the M25 motorway. Other cities around the UK including Bath, Birmingham and Portsmouth have also implemented similar ‘clean air’ zones and many more have signalled that they intend to in the coming years. You can read more about clean air zones here.

If you live in one of these zones, or are likely to drive into one, you need to find out if your car complies with the rules and is exempt from the charges. Driving a non-compliant car in a ULEZ could get pricey – in London the charge is £12.50 per day, on top of the Congestion Charge that’s applied if you drive into inner London which, in early 2022, was £15 per day. So it’s clear that driving a ULEZ-compliant car could save you a lot of money.

Is my car ULEZ-compliant?

To be ULEZ-compliant, your car must emit a sufficiently low level of exhaust pollutants. You can find out whether it meets the required standards by using the checker tool on the Transport for London website.

The requirements for ULEZ-compliance are based on European emissions standards, which set limits on the amount of various chemicals emitted from a car’s exhaust pipe. Those chemicals include nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (or soot), which can cause serious respiratory problems like asthma.
Euro standards were first introduced in 1970 and have grown progressively stricter. Euro 6 standards are now in force with Euro 7 due to be introduced in 2025. You can find your car’s Euro emissions standard on its V5C registration document.
To be ULEZ-compliant, petrol cars must meet at least Euro 4 standards and diesels must meet Euro 6. Virtually all cars sold new in the UK from 2005, and some from as early as 2001, meet Euro 4. All diesel cars sold new from September 2015, and some from before that date, meet Euro 6 standards.

Electric cars and cars that are more than 40 years old are also exempt from ULEZ charges.

Are hybrid cars ULEZ-compliant?

Full-hybrid cars such as the Toyota C-HR hybrid and plug-in hybrids such as the Mitsubishi Outlander have a petrol or diesel engine, which means they’re subject to the same requirements as other petrol and diesel cars. Petrol hybrids must meet at least Euro 4 standards and diesel hybrids must meet Euro 6 standards to be ULEZ-compliant.

Mitsubishi Outlander

You’ll find a range of high quality low-emissions cars for driving in London available at Cazoo. Use our search tool to find the one that’s right for you, then buy it online and have it delivered to your door, or choose to collect it from one of our Customer Service Centres.

We’re constantly updating and adding to our stock. If you can’t find one within your budget today, check back soon to see what’s available or set up a stock alert to be the first to know when we have a low emissions car that matches your needs.