London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone was expanded 18 times to cover all areas of the city’s North Circular roads. It is expected to reach around 300,000. 

Any car not exempt from the regulations driving inside the zone is subject to a £12.50 daily charge to combat its effect on air quality, in addition to the Congestion Charge of £15 a day. 

Surprisingly, there are many cars that qualify for exemption status. 

We have listed eight that we think will appeal to petrolheads – and could be a solid investment in the years ahead of tightening clean air zone rules.

Modern classics that dodge ULEZ: These are just four examples of petrol head favourites that are exempt from London's £12.50 charging zone that has grown 18 times in size this week

Modern classics that dodge ULEZ: These are just four examples of petrol head favourites that are exempt from London’s £12.50 charging zone that has grown 18 times in size this week

The charge is waived for petrol cars that meet Euro 4 emission standards (usually produced in 2005), while diesel models must adhere to the latest Euro 6 standards. This covers most vehicles manufactured after 2015. 

Transport for London’s vehicle tester can help drivers understand if they will be required to pay each time they get behind a wheel. 

Among the few exemptions from the £12.50 daily charge is one for classic cars – though only those over 40 years old that are registered for historic vehicle tax.

This means that London’s many classic cars now have to pay a daily fee for every time they are started. 

Nevertheless, some people are able to avoid the charge.

Classic car insurance and valuations specialists, Hagerty, has provided a list of eight intriguing modern classics that will appeal to petrolheads, from bona-fide city cars to luxury GTs, that sidestep the ULEZ… for now.

We’ve checked prices on Auto Trader – which also has a handy ‘ULEZ’  filter on vehicle searches – to give motorists an idea of current used prices. 

1. Audi TT Mk1 (2004-on)

Price: Anything from £5,000 to £25,000 for solid, low-mileage, examples of the ULEZ compliant 1.8 petrols

The first-generation Audi TT was a huge hit when it arrived on the market. Good examples are very collectible today. And some variants are ULEZ exempt

The first generation Audi TT was a huge success when it came on the market. Exemplars of the first-generation Audi TT are highly collectible today. Some variants are ULEZ exempt

Although you’ll get a better driving experience than some of its rivals, the original Audi TT is still incredibly sculptural. 

An instant icon at launch and now a true modern classic, the TT looks as natural on a twisty mountain road as it does parked outside a trendy pavement café. You can also opt for a cabriolet model to enjoy London’s smog-free air, now that ULEZ has been established.

Some models – all petrols – are listed as being Euro 3, though late 190 horsepower models and V6s as Euro 4.

Some cars from 2001 are being ULEZ exempted on the TfL’s Checker. To be safe, purchase as late a car possible.

2. Bentley Continental GT (all)

Price: From £22,000 for low-mileage cars from the early 2000s 

If you want a luxury grand tourer, the Bentley Continental GT is the ideal example. Even with a six-litre W12 engine, it manages to dodge the ULEZ charge

The Bentley Continental GT is a luxury grand tourer. Even with a six litre W12 engine, it can evade the ULEZ charges

It’s amazing that a twin turbocharged, W12-engined grand touring vehicle isn’t subject to ULEZ charges as a brand-new Volkswagen ID.3 hybrid car.

One is certainly more spectacular to drive than another – and we don’t need to tell you which one it is. 

The Continental GT is a bit of a squeeze in the capital’s parking lots, but it could be a great choice for those who frequently trek out of the city and into the country.

3. BMW M3 (E46).

Price: From around £28,000 if you’re willing to have a convertible version with sub-50,000 miles on the clock 

Arguably the best BMW M3, the E46 example also meets Euro 4 emissions so is exempt from the ULEZ charge

The E46 BMW M3 is undoubtedly the best, and it also meets Euro 4 emissions. Therefore, the ULEZ exemption does not apply to this BMW M3 model.

The E46-generation BMW M3 – probably the best M3 of all – meets Euro 4 emissions standards and is therefore ULEZ exempt. 

It’s quite amazing that a 3.2-litre inline six cylinder engine in an performance saloon can meet emissions requirements for a low emission zone, especially considering how many family hatchbacks fail to achieve the same. 

Many of these vehicles were destroyed within a few inches of their original life, but there is a growing community that has collected, restored, and lovingly maintained a lot of them. This means that although prices will likely be high, you will still be able to buy quality. Coupes sell for higher prices second-hand, so a cheaper convertible might be a better option.

4. Ford Focus Mk1 (2002-onwards)

Price: If you can find one – which might be tricky – you could only have to spend a maximum of a £2,000 

Not all mk1 Ford Focuses dodge the ULEZ charge, so if you're serious about buying one and using it in London, then you need to use TfL's vehicle checker

Not all mk1 Ford Focuses are exempt from the ULEZ tax. This is why you should use TfL’s vehicle checking tool if you want to buy one and use it in London.

Hagerty identified this as one its best investments last year in its Hagerty Bull Market Report.

The Mk1 Ford Focus is quickly becoming appreciated as a modern classic, and it’s among the most affordable vehicles on the roads – at least until they’re so rare that demand for tidy examples exceeds supply. 

You are also exempt from ULEZ if you choose the right model. Mk1 Focuses are sometimes listed as Euro 3 by some consumer websites, but most post-2002 petrol versions seem unaffected after running a few numberplates. 

It’s advised that buyers run the ‘plate through TfL’s checker before buying, just to make sure it avoid the £12.50 daily charge.

5. Jaguar XJ (X350)

Price: From £14,000 for low-mileage examples – and a little more if you want a ULEZ-compliant V8

Despite its age, some X350 versions of the Jaguar XJ are ULEZ exempt - but you will need to do plenty of research to ensure you buy one that meets Euro 4 regulations

Despite their age, some Jaguar XJ X350 versions are ULEZ-exempt. However, you will need to do extensive research to ensure your purchase meets Euro 4 regulations.

The X350-generation Jaguar XJ was purchased through the crossing between Euro 3 emissions standards and Euro 4 emissions standards, 2003 to 2009. 

Some websites list certain X350s at Euro 3, but some cars are exempt. 

The X350 is the last XJ that has been traditionally designed and is lightweight thanks to its aluminum structure. 

XJs ride and handle beautifully and performance is good too – just avoid the diesel, which despite its frugality, falls foul of the ULEZ regulations.

6. Mazda RX-8 (all Mazda RX-8)

Price: We found one with one lady owner and 40,000 miles on the clock for £3,500

The Mazda RX-8 has long been considered a modern classic, but costs drivers a lot of fuel and oil bills

The Mazda RX-8 is a timeless classic that has been around for a long time, but it costs drivers a lot in fuel and oil.

The Mazda RX-8, a Euro 4-compatible vehicle is exempt from the ULEZ fees that a Euro 3 supermini capable achieving twice the fuel economy would have to pay. 

In the RX-8’s defence, it’s a surprisingly smooth and easy car to drive around town, and with four proper seats, practical too, and it’s better still on the open road so at least getting there from the centre of London won’t add another £12.50 a day.

This is good news because the RX-8 is historically expensive in fuel costs and maintaining it topped up with oil.

7. Mini One/Cooper/S (all, in theory…)

Price: If you go for a low-mileage Cooper, expect to pay from around £4,000 

In theory, all Minis are ULEZ exempt, bar the older One D diesels. That means you can choose from a selection of Cooper and Cooper S cars

Minis are exempted from ULEZ except for older One D diesels. You can choose from a variety of Cooper and Cooper S cars.

Apart from when they were new and highly fashionable, there is no better time to get an R50 Mini One or Cooper, Cooper S, or Cooper S. 

Not only is the Mini’s handling just as entertaining as it was 20 years ago at launch, but pricing is currently incredibly affordable too – and to top it all, it’s Euro 4 compatible. 

The diesel-powered One D is best avoided, however economical it may be. ULEZ requires Euro 6 compatible emissions for diesels. The first BMW Minis have great visibility and are agile in handling. 

8. Suzuki Jimny (VVT, 2005-on)

Price: Around £5,500 will secure you a very clean, low-mileage example of this ULEZ-compliant compact SUV 

Suzuki's Jimny is a compact SUV that's constantly in big demand. Models with variable valve timing - introduced in 2005 - are compliant with existing ULEZ requirements

The Suzuki Jimny is a compact SUV which is always in high demand. Variable valve timing models – introduced in 2005 – are compliant with existing ULEZ regulations

This 4X4 is easy to drive in a city and equally capable when you need to travel as far as possible. 

The Suzuki Jimny is not only more capable of getting into the wilderness that larger, more expensive offroaders but it’s also a better choice for tight parking and narrow streets. 

Jimnys with variable valve timing were introduced in 2005 and should be kept in mind by buyers. The model was originally only Euro 3 but the VVT engine made it Euro 4. 

The Jimny is unfortunately one of the most valuable used models, due to the high demand.


Read our guide on everything you need to know about ULEZ, including where the income for payments and fines goes and who came up with the plan for the zone in the first place

You can read our guide to learn everything about ULEZ, including where income goes for payments and fines, and who designed the zone.

What is the ULEZ and how does it work?

The Ultra Low Emission Zone was established in London on 8 April 2019, replacing the now defunct T Charge.

Sadiq Khan, London Mayor, introduced it to encourage motorists in reducing the capital’s terrible air pollution levels. He levy users of the dirtiest vehicles.

He hopes the ULEZ encourages drivers to switch to low-emission models or electric cars that emit less toxic pollutants and use public transport more often – or increase walking or cycling.

What area of London is the ULEZ covering? 

The area covered by the zone was the same as the Congestion Charge Zone in central London for the first two-years after its introduction.

It has been extended to include the North Circular Road, A406, and South Circular Road, A205, which encompass much of inner London, as of 25 October 2021. 

It is being monitored by ANPR camera systems that track all vehicles in the area, just like the congestion fee.

When is the ULEZ enforced 

ULEZ is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week, apart from Christmas Day.

What is the ULEZ fee? 

The charge is £12.50 per day for non-compliant cars, vans and motorcycles.

For the HGVs, the charge is £100 a day. 

ULEZ is an additional charge on top of the Congestion Charge (£15). That means entering the congestion zone in a car that’s not exempt during its operating hours (7am to 10pm) will cost drivers a combined sum of £27.50. 

Motorists should also know that the ULEZ fee resets at midnight and does NOT cover drivers for a 24-hour period lasting more than two days. So if you enter the ULEZ at 23:59 and leave at 00:01, you will have to pay twice (£25). 

The ULEZ is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week apart from Christmas Day. It will be enforced by hundreds of automatic number plate recognition cameras around the city

The ULEZ is available 24 hours a days, seven days a semaine except for Christmas Day. It will be enforced with hundreds of automatic number plate recognition cameras located around the city.

How can I pay for entry to the ULEZ  

Regular users can register to auto pay – though there is a £10 admin charge per vehicle to set this up.

Alternatively, you can go the TfL website to pay online.  

How many cars will be driven in London each day and have to pay the ULEZ fee?

TfL estimates that 100,000 cars a days will be affected due to the ULEZ expansion to North and South Circular Roads. This includes 35,000 vans as well as 3,000 HGVs. 

Based on these estimations, the ULEZ will bring in some £1,987,500 every day for the Greater London Authority.

That’s almost £14 million a week, or £723,450,000 a year. 

The AA however believes that more than 300,000. 

Motorists are urged to use Transport for London's ULEZ vehicle checker online to clarify in their vehicle is exempt from the £12.50 daily charge or not

Motorists are urged to use Transport for London’s ULEZ vehicle checker online to clarify in their vehicle is exempt from the £12.50 daily charge or not

How can I check if my car meets ULEZ compliance?

The exemption from ULEZ depends on the type of vehicle and fuel it uses.

Here is a breakdown of the emission standards that are required for each vehicle type:

  • Mopeds and motorbikes: need to meet Euro 3 standards (post-2007 vehicles) 
  • Vans and petrol cars: need to meet Euro 4 standards (vehicles post-2006) 
  • Diesel cars and vans need to meet Euro 6 standards (vehicles post-2015) 
  • Buses, coaches, and lorries need to meet or exceed the Euro VI standard

These dates are only guidelines and may not apply to all cars. 

If you’re unsure of the Euro standard of your car, motorcycle or van, you can use the TfL’s vehicle checker to discover if you’re compliant with ULEZ requirements or not. 

Cars Alliance of British Drivers states that despite being relatively recent, they do not qualify for ULEZ exemption 

These are just some examples of diesel cars produced after 2015 – when Euro 6 emissions standards were introduced – but will still incur £12.50 daily ULEZ charges.

Alliance of British Drivers has provided the following list:

  • 2015 Citroen C3 Edition 1.6 Bluehdi 100 Edition 5dr 90bhp
  • 2015 Citroen C4 1.6 e-HDi Airdream VTR+ Hatchback 5dr 115bhp
  • 2015 Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi ECOnetic Design 5dr 94bhp
  • 2015 Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi 115 Zetec 5dr 113bhp
  • 2015 Fiat Panda 1.2 MULTIJET POP 5d 75 BHP
  • 2015 Fiat 500 Lounge1.3 Multijet 3dr 95bhp
  • 2015 Nissan Juke 1.5 ACENTA DCi 5 DOOR 110 BHP

  • 2015 Renault Clio 1.5 dCi ECO Expression + 5dr 90bhp
  • 2015 Toyota Auris (1.4 D-4D Excel) (s/s), 5dr 90bhp
  • 2015 Vauxhall Corsa Ecoflex Design 94BHP
  • 2015 Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi Ecoflex Elite 160 bhp
  • 2015 Vauxhall Astra CDTi 1.6 CDTi 16V Ecoflex Designs 5dr, 108bhp
  • 2015 VW Golf hatch 1.5tdi Bluemotion tech S, 104bhp
  • 2015 VW Golf Bluemotion 1.6tdi estate 108bhp

Are classic cars required to pay for entry to the ULEZ 

All vehicles that have been registered with Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for having historical vehicle tax – which requires that the car be more than 40 year old – are exempted by the ULEZ. 

Your classic car will be exempt if it is registered as having historic tax. 

It is important that vehicle owners apply to the DVLA in order to receive a vehicle exemption. This will allow them to issue an updated logbook to clarify whether the vehicle is eligible to receive historic vehicle tax at no charge.

If a classic vehicle is being used commercially, such as a coffee van or street food outlet, owners will need to pay to access the ULEZ.

Are there any other vehicles exempt from ULEZ?

A few vehicle types will be exempted from the ULEZ fee. These include:

  • London black taxis
  • Agricultural vehicles 
  • Military vehicles 
  • Non-road going vehicleswhich are allowed to drive on a highway (excavators, for example) 
  • Some types of mobile cranes
TfL estimates that 100,000 cars a day will affected by the ULEZ charge being expanded to the North and South Circular Road, along with 35,000 vans and 3,000 HGVs. Based on these estimations, the ULEZ will bring in some £1,987,500 every day for the Greater London Authority. That's almost £14 million a week, or £723,450,000 a year

TfL estimates that 100,000 cars a days will be affected by the ULEZ expansion to the North Circular Road and 35,000 vans, and 3,000 HGVs. Based on these estimations, the ULEZ will bring in some £1,987,500 every day for the Greater London Authority. That’s almost £14 million a week, or £723,450,000 a year

Are foreign drivers required to pay the ULEZ?

Non-UK registered vehicles will need to pay the ULEZ fee to drive in the zone if the vehicle does not meet the emission standards. 

However, there are very few chances that they will be caught for non compliance.

This is because it is notoriously hard to get vehicle keeper information across Europe for law enforcement. 

What is the penalty for not paying the ULEZ entry fee?

If ANPR cameras snap your non-compliant vehicle being used within the zone and you haven’t paid to enter the ULEZ, you will be fined £160.

This fine is reduced to £80 if you pay within 14 days of receiving the notice.

Lorry and bus drivers who don’t pay have to fork out a whopping £1,000. 

TfL said that warning letters will be sent to the first offenders, but that penalties will be issued for those who continue to offend.

Is it possible to avoid driving into the ULEZ

If your destination falls within the ULEZ, there is no way to avoid paying the non-compliant vehicle.

You can however be re-routed to avoid the ULEZ if your most direct route leads you there.

Navigation and traffic app Waze was updated to reflect ULEZ compliance in April 2019. It can also show the route around restricted areas. 

Drivers will be notified if they travel through the ULEZ Zone and can choose to continue that route.

Was the ULEZ Sadiq Kan’s idea?

No. Boris Johnson, a former London Mayor and Prime Minister, was the one who came up with the idea.

Khan had however accelerated the date and proposed that it be extended starting on 25 October 2021. 

Are there discounts available for residents who live in the ULEZ?

Anyone living in the ULEZ has been able until now to register for a discount of 100%. This offer was only valid for a limited time, and was not available beyond 8 April 2019.

Residents will be required to pay the daily ULEZ fee to drive a vehicle within the zone starting 25 October. If the vehicle does not meet the required standards, the residents will be charged the full daily ULEZ fee   

Blue Badge holders will not be exempt from paying the ULEZ charge of £12.50 if their vehicle is not compliant with the restrictions

Blue Badge holders will not be exempt from paying the ULEZ charge of £12.50 if their vehicle is not compliant with the restrictions

Are there ULEZ discounts available for blue badge holders 

Vehicle owners with a disabled’ or ‘disabled personal vehicles’ tax category can be exempted of the ULEZ fee until 26 October 2025 provided that their vehicle does not change tax classes.  

Blue Badge holders will have to pay the fee unless their vehicle meets the new ULEZ emission standards, or is registered with DVLA with a disabled’ or disabled passenger car’ tax class. 

Kaleidoscope Group Chief Disability Officer Kush Kanodia is leading a campaign for fair ULEZ exclusion for approximately a quarter-million disabled people in London with Blue Badges.  

“Disabled people should be exempted ULEZ charges if their participation in society is to be full.” Kanodia stated that while the scheme might improve London’s air quality, it should also be accessible to all.

“With less than 30% of London’s tube stations accessible by step-free access, many disabled people are forced to drive because London’s inaccessible public transportation system makes it difficult for them to use.

“Many disabled Londoners with Blue Badges don’t own a car, but they will use the pass to get a lift from their friends. The ULEZ rules will exempt only cars registered to disabled persons. Anyone taking them shopping, giving them a lift, or caring for them would need to pay a fee if the vehicle doesn’t conform to the ULEZ regulations. ULEZ is rigid.

These are barriers that can be detrimental to the health and well-being of social workers and other caregivers. They might be traveling from outside London in a car that is ULEZ compliant because of lower salaries. In this case, they will need to pay a 12.50 fee for the trip.

“We are going to have more inequality and more deprivation, and more people suffering unnecessarily.” 

A ULEZ Scrappage Scheme - offering £2,000 to drivers who ditch non-compliant cars - was introduced in 2019 but only available to Londoners on benefits. Funding for the grants had almost ran out ahead of the expansion on 25 October

A ULEZ Scrappage Scheme – offering £2,000 to drivers who ditch non-compliant cars – was introduced in 2019 but only available to Londoners on benefits. The expansion of the grants was almost completed before funding ran out. 

TfL will help me get rid of a non-compliant vehicle and purchase one that won’t be stung with the ULEZ fee.

There is a dedicated ULEZ Scrappage Program, but it is limited to low-income drivers and the funds are almost exhausted.

A driver must receive one of the following benefits to be eligible to receive the grant. These benefits include universal credit as well as child tax credit, working tax credit, and pension credit.

It is only available for those who live in one the 32 London boroughs. Only vehicles that are not ULEZ-compliant are eligible for this scheme.

Drivers who meet all the necessary criteria can apply for a grant of £2,000 to replace a car that doesn’t meet the required emission standard criteria with one that does. Motorcyclists will receive £1,000.

TfL informed This is Money, however, that there were not enough funds to support 1,500 additional applicants to the scheme a week prior to the expansion. 

Only one benefit is required to be eligible for the ULEZ Scrappage Program:

Universal Credit

Armed Forces Independence payment

Attendance Allowance

Carer’s Allowance

Child Tax Credit

Constant Attendance Allowance

Disability Living Allowance

Employment and Support Allowance

Housing Benefit

Income Support

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

Allowance for Jobseekers

Pension Credit

Personal Independence Payment

Severe Disablement Allowance

War Pensions Mobility Supplement

Working Tax Credit

What has City Hall already made from ULEZ?

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone helped City Hall rake in an extra £107million in the first year it was in place, This is Money revealed earlier this year. 

With ULEZ introduced in April 2019, official records for the financial year 2019-20 show that Greater London Assembly’s net profits from congestion charges was £267million, data published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government shows. A year earlier, it was just £160million. 

Congestion charge income has been steadily falling from around £258million in 2014-15 and 2015-16 to £230 million in 2018-19.

However, in the first year ULEZ was introduced, income leapt to more than £400million – an increase of 74 per cent.

Where do ULEZ earnings go to? 

Transport for London claims that it does no profit from congestion charges. Any money received from congestion charge and ULEZ will be reinvested in improving the transport network, including its cycleways and Tube.

The AA is skeptical about the claims.

Luke Bosdet of the motoring organization says that ‘all that they list was transport spending paid out from taxation or airfares.

“Now it comes down to targeting users of vehicles going through their daily lives and not having enough wealth to purchase the most up-to-date cars.

“What the Greater London Authority receives from charges and fines is vastly greater than the cost of the infrastructure necessary to implement its restrictions.

“They don’t spend it for facilities that would reduce car traffic, regardless if the motorists have the means to do so, such as park and ride or cycle facilities in the outskirts London. 

‘Yes, the ULEZ will have the desired environmental effect – by pricing poorer people off the road and as to what the financial impact of the ULEZ being expanded will be, we can only wonder.’ 

A spokesperson for TfL said: ‘The introduction of the ULEZ is not about making money, but about improving the health and wellbeing of thousands of Londoners. Any money received from ULEZ can be reinvested in walking, cycling, or public transport.

Transport for London states that it does not make a profit from congestion charges and any money received from the congestion charge and ULEZ is reinvested into improving the transport network, including its cycleways, buses and Tube

Transport for London says it doesn’t make a profit on congestion charges. All money from the congestion charge or ULEZ is reinvested in improving London’s transport network, including its cycleways and buses.

Why is the ULEZ being introduced to London?

TfL estimates that about half of all emissions of harmful particulate matter and nitrogen oxides (NOx), come from transport.

It also states: “These pollutants make chronic diseases worse, shorten lifespans, and can damage the lung development.

‘The communities that suffer the most from poor air quality are often most vulnerable, including children from London. At least 360 primary schools live in areas that exceed safe legal pollution levels. 

Alex Williams, TfL director of city planning, stated: “London’s toxic atmosphere damages children’s lung and causes thousands of unnecessary death. It is crucial that we expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone.

“It is anticipated that the North and South circular harmful emission from vehicles will drop by around 30% when the zone is extended up to, but without including, the capital.

‘The ULEZ has already proven to be hugely successful, with nitrogen dioxide pollution being cut by almost half in the city’s centre. Many people are making the green transition in preparation for the expansion. We are seeing more cars in inner London that meet the strict pollution standards, ahead of the scheme going into effect in October. 

Recent research has shown that the health damage from cars and vans across the UK costs £6billion a year to the NHS and society, with the bill in London £650million.

Officials claimed that expanding the ULEZ and stricter standards on heavy vehicles in London would result more than 100,000 Londoners living in areas below legal air quality limits in 2021. Furthermore, all areas of London are expected to see a reductions in pollution.

Eco drive: Clean air zones are being rolled out across the country meaning many owners of older vehicles will either have to buy a new one or face hefty charges. We explain what each one could mean for drivers

Eco drive: Many owners of older vehicles will have to purchase a new vehicle or face heavy fines if they don’t comply with the Clean Air Zones regulations. We explain what each could mean for drivers

Is there going be an ULEZ in my town?

Drivers of older cars in Britain, and not just London, have to accept the concept that emissions tax zones are only for the most polluted cities.

According to government orders, councils are required to reduce their air pollution levels. To do this, they must get rid of all dirtiest vehicles from their roads.

Birmingham in June became the first UK city to introduce a charging zone for car drivers outside the capital, with its new Clean Air Zone (CAZ) demanding an £8 payment each time a user of a non-compliant vehicle enters the boundary around the city centre.

It’s not the only city that will be imposing such levies on drivers. A total of 15 cities will or plan similar zones for motorised cars – three are already in existence and one will be before 2021. Not all will impact car owners. 

> Is a ULEZ, CAZ, LEZ or ZEZ coming to a town or city near you? Learn more about each emission tax zone and when they will be launched.



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