15 November 2018

As more and more businesses focus on expanding their fleet, the number of cities around the UK introducing Low Emission Zones (LEZs) also increases.

With the 2018 Autumn Budget announcing the Government’s plans to de-carbonise the UK transport sector by 2024, it’s now more important than ever for businesses to focus on their “green fleet” vehicles.

That’s why for we wanted to share some of the key information surrounding LEZs, and what this means for organisations across the UK.

What are Low Emission Zones?

LEZs are schemes in major UK cities designed to tackle pollution, reduce total carbon emissions and discourage certain types of vehicles from entering certain areas.

The most prominent LEZ is in London, which operates alongside the existing London Congestion Charge. Some vehicles, that are listed later in this article, will have to pay both the congestion charge and the LEZ charge, which can have a large impact on organisations looking to expand.

These LEZs do not forbid these vehicles from entering the city, but they do incur a charge, and the failure to pay will result in heavy financial penalties.

Where are the Low Emission Zones in the UK?

Throughout the UK, larger cities have implemented, or are planning to introduce, LEZs in a bid to reduce pollution for residents.

These include:

  • London
  • Birmingham
  • Norwich
  • Nottingham
  • Oxford

With the exception of London, the rest of the cities have only implemented strategies to reduce pollution from public transport, but that looks like it is set to change.

For example, Oxford has confirmed that they want to become the world’s first zero-emission city by 2035, with some diesel and petrol vehicles set to be banned from a number of city centre streets by 2020.

Which vehicles are affected?

Currently, it’s only larger vehicles that are impacted by the London LEZ, including:

  • Lorries over 3.5 tonnes, registered before October 2006
  • Coaches over five tonnes
  • Larger commercial vans
  • Minibuses
  • Motorised caravans
  • Light 4x4s and pick up trucks registered before January 2002

Remember, if the business has a fleet heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) then it’s something they need to remember when planning journeys.

What is the Ultra Low Emission Zone?

As more and more vehicles visit inner cities, especially those that are larger or carrying freight, the pollution levels rise. London is due to implement an Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) in 2019, which will replace the existing Toxicity-Charge, also known as the T Charge.

Vehicles that currently drive in Central London are subject to this charge, which means that any vehicle that doesn’t meet minimum Euro 4 emission standards will pay £21.50 per day, Monday to Friday, 7am to 6pm.

In short, any vehicle registered before 2005 is likely to have to pay this charge during the set times. The ULEZ will cover a wider area, and will have stricter emission standards when compared to the existing T-Charge.

Further reading

To find out more on how businesses can reduce their impact on the environment and improve “green” credentials, take a look at the articles listed below:


In summary, organisations need to be aware of these emission zones, especially if they’re sending employees into cities for business reasons.

To counter these charges, companies may arrange different methods of transport or they can implement car sharing to reduce the overall cost. Whichever option they choose to take, failure to pay charges can soon become a financial burden.

To find out more about our fleet management and leasing, employee benefits solutions and driver services, call a member of our team on 0844 854 5100 or email CSalmon@sgfleet.com.