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Here's How to Avoid the ULEZ Zones in London

Here's How to Avoid the ULEZ Zones in London

The ULEZ is a big deal if you live anywhere near London, governing what cars can be driven into the city limits without paying a fine.  

What is ULEZ?

In August this year, the Ultra Low Emissions Zone was expanded to all boroughs of London, meaning only compliant cars can drive into the city without paying a fee. For more information on what the ULEZ is and if your car is compliant, check our detailed blog here.

In this blog, we’ll discuss what ways there are to avoid having to pay the ULEZ fee or change your car.

How do the ULEZ Cameras Work?

Using ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) technology, cameras record the registration of every car that passes by them. This list of cars is then automatically checked against a central database of vehicles for ULEZ compliance.  

Within the ULEZ zone, there are roughly 2,800 cameras in the ULEZ zone. Some are placed on dedicated poles, and some on existing traffic light gantries and signposts.

What Happens if You Get Caught by a ULEZ Camera?

Unlike speed cameras with a bright flash, there are no visible signs that a ULEZ camera has read and logged your number plate. If you do pass a ULEZ camera in a non-compliant car, your details will be stored for roughly three days.

This is because you have until three days following the journey, to pay the ULEZ fee. If after midnight on the third day, you have not paid, you will be issued a fine.

How much is the ULEZ Fine?

If you’re caught entering a ULEZ zone and do not pay the fee within the allotted time period, a £180 fine will be sent to the registered keeper’s address. Issued in the form of a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), these should not be ignored as they can lead to court rulings.

Whilst the fine is £180, it is reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days of the fine date.

How to Avoid ULEZ Charges and Fines 

If your car is not compliant, you can avoid paying extra charges by taking care when planning your journey: 

  • Avoid ULEZ zones completely: Google Maps and WAZE have the ability to not include tolls and chargeable zones, such as the ULEZ in your journey
  • Park on the outskirts of London and use public transport: There are many car parks that lie outside the ULEZ but with good transport links to the city 
  • Consider cycling into the city: Transport for London has a great guide on the cycleways in and around the City here.
  • Keep up to date with changes to the zone and emissions regulations: it may not be for a few years, but the ULEZ requirements may become more strict in the future, make sure to check your car again if anything changes

How to avoid ULEZ zones 

WAZE is an app available on both Android and iPhone devices that maps routes, in a similar way to Google Maps does.  

The benefit of WAZE is that it utilises user-submitted data to monitor where traffic, roadworks, speed cameras and ULEZ cameras are situated. This allows you to avoid the ULEZ zones as long as you use WAZE to direct you. 

How to Use WAZE to Avoid ULEZ Zones 

Before planning your route, open the settings menu, and select “Toll and HOV passes”, make sure the “London ULEZ Compliant” exemption is not selected. This tells WAZE that your car is not ULEZ-compliant.  

  1. Open the WAZE app and enter your destination 
  2. Select the preferred route from the options, the top one is the shortest time  
  3. Follow the directions as normal 

Conclusion 

We’ve discussed almost everything there is to know about the ULEZ charging system and what you need to do. For more information on ULEZ and many other car-related topics check out our blog page.

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