Where Can You Live in London to Avoid the ULEZ Expansion Zone?

Estimated reading time 6 minutes

Whilst at the outset there were areas within London where you could live to avoid the Ultra Low Emission Zone, this is now no longer the case. The London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was introduced in central London in 2019. Following its extension to inner London in 2021, the ULEZ expansion 2023 came into effect on August 29th and now operates across all 32 London boroughs. It is in effect 24 hours a day and runs from midnight to midnight so if you drive within the ULEZ area across two days, driving before midnight and then driving after midnight you will need to pay two charges.  The map below shows all areas now covered by the ULEZ expansion zone.

(image source: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone/ulez-where-and-when)

This initiative is aimed at reducing air pollution caused by polluting vehicles and has had a significant impact on residents and homeowners within the Greater London area. The introduction has led to an improvement in air quality as people have been discouraged from driving higher polluting cars in heavily populated areas.

The Mayor of London wants to improve the air quality for everyone who lives, works and visits the Greater London area.

What is the ULEZ expansion?

The London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion requires vehicles within its boundaries to adhere to strict emission standards. If your vehicle fails to meet these standards, then you must pay a daily fee to drive in it. The purpose being that by charging a fee, the use of high-emission vehicles is discouraged, and therefore the air quality will improve. This in turn promotes significant health benefits to those living and working in the ULEZ expansion 2023 zone.

Residents can check if their vehicles comply with the standards and if their properties fall within the ULEZ boundaries on the TFL website. You can also check whether you will be driving into the ULEZ zone with TFL’s postcode checker.

What are the impacts of ULEZ expansion on London residents?

With any new initiative, there is always likely to be an impact on residents that may be seen as both detrimental and advantageous.

Extra costs for vehicle owners

Residents owning non-compliant vehicles face a daily charge of £12.50.  But it’s not just residents that have to pay the charge. Any car, motorcycle, van, specialist vehicles or minibuses that enter the zone but does not meet the emission standard will have to pay the charge making ownership of high-emission vehicles travelling in the zone more costly.

Property value

Whilst there has not been a direct study linking ULEZ to property prices, there is an argument to say that properties in the zone might attract buyers seeking improved air quality and more environmentally friendly homes.

Commercial businesses

Some businesses, like industrial units and catering companies, might need to relocate outside the zone, potentially affecting property prices and conditions in these areas. The cost for staff to drive becoming too high and the costs for the business to bear, too expensive.


Following the expansion of ULEZ, landlords might consider installing electric vehicle charging points to attract tenants, which could potentially increase rental income and again increase the attractiveness of the property to environmentally conscious tenants.

The positives of ULEZ

There are, of course, many positives to come from the introduction of ULEZ expansion.

Improved air quality

Government statistics show a reduction in harmful emissions, with a 49% drop in nitrogen dioxide levels in central London and 22% across the expanded ULEZ.

Greener transportation

The expansion has led to the adoption of cleaner transportation methods, like electric cars and bicycles, and increased use of public transport.

Scrappage scheme

A £160 million scheme offers financial assistance to eligible London residents, including lower-income residents, disabled Londoners, small businesses, micro-businesses, sole traders, and charities with a registered London address whose vehicles don’t meet the ULEZ emissions standards.

All London residents living within one of the 32 boroughs of Greater London are eligible for the scheme.

Combat climate change

ULEZ is the largest clean air zone in the world and is setting a new standard for the UK in tackling the climate emergency.

ULEZ: A new era in London

The ULEZ scheme is seen as a London success story with 96.4% of cars driving in outer London and 96.9% of cars driving in inner London now meeting the required Ultra Low Emission Zone’s standards.  ULEZ has cut pollution in central and inner London and London is now forecast to reach legal air pollution levels by 2026.

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone expansion has had a positive environmental and urban planning impact within the area bringing health benefits to those living and working there. All money that has been raised by ULEZ is guaranteed to be invested to improve the transport network in London with more than a million kilometres to be added to outer London’s bus network and an outer London brand new Superloop bus network. Yet we cannot ignore the financial challenges that it presents for non-compliant car owners and small businesses that live and work in the area.

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Featured image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/londonmatt/52716289592

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