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ULEZ comes to Heathrow on 29th August – you may need to pay £12.50 to drive to the airport

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London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is expanding to cover all of Greater London on 29th August.

This includes Heathrow.

From 29th August, you will need to pay £12.50 to drive your car, van or motorcycle to the airport if it is not ULEZ compliant. This is ON TOP of the £5 terminal drop-off fee charged by Heathrow or any Heathrow parking fee.

If you live in Central London and are driving to Heathrow then nothing changes, since Central London is already a ULEZ zone and your vehicle will already be ULEZ compliant (unless you have very deep pockets).

It is most likely to catch out anyone driving to Heathrow from elsewhere, especially as such people are less likely to understand the ULEZ rules.

It is easy to be confused by ULEZ at Heathrow. Take a look at the map above (click to expand).

As you can see, the stretch of the M4 which passes Heathrow is NOT included in ULEZ for some reason. However, as soon as you turn onto the Heathrow slip road, towards Bath Road, you DO need to pay.

For Terminal 5 users it is a similar situation. The M25 is outside the ULEZ zone, but as soon as you turn off towards T5 it will be triggered. If you need a hotel with car parking, you may find that you can avoid ULEZ by staying at properties such as Hilton Terminal 5, which is to the west of the M25 and outside the zone.

Which vehicles need to pay the ULEZ fee?

There is a vehicle checker, based on your car registration, on the TfL ULEZ site here.

Basically, you are compliant if your car meets the following European pollution standards:

  • Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category)
  • Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles

If you have a petrol vehicle under 16 years old or diesel vehicle under six years old then it is highly likely that it meets the required standards.

When does ULEZ operate?

ULEZ will operate 24 / 7 / 364. The only day you can drive a heavily polluting car to Heathrow for free will be Christmas Day.

How do you pay the ULEZ charge?

Details of how to pay the ULEZ charge can be found here.

You have until midnight on the third day after you have driven into the ULEZ zone to pay. Remember that, if you are parking overnight at Heathrow, you will also have to pay for the day you drive home. You do not pay for days your car is parked but not moved, even if parked on a road.

If you are doing ‘meet and greet’ then you MUST set up auto-pay because you will not know on which days your car is moved to/from the pick up and drop off area. This will add to the ULEZ fees for your trip.

You can find out more about the ULEZ expansion on the TfL website here.

PS. For clarity, ULEZ does not apply to Gatwick Airport. The M25 is outside the ULEZ zone so even if you are approaching Gatwick from the west you will not trigger it.

Comments (231)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Spaghetti Town says:

    The UK has been going downhill pretty rapidly since 2016 and things are continuing to get even more barmy.

    • MrMcBurger says:

      Long before 2016. Long before 2008 & long before 2000. You have been living in an illusion for 25 years

    • Rob says:

      Even The Telegraph felt obliged to run an article last week suggesting that all its readers under 50 should leave the UK because there simply isn’t any point sticking around.

      Bit unfortunate that partly due to The Telegraph’s actions most of them don’t have the legal right to move anywhere sensible, but still 🙂

      • Roy says:

        Hang on, the Telegraph wants everyone to become immigrants? Won’t that make them less than worthless in the Telegraph’s eyes?

        • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

          No. We’d be expats which is a whole different category in their eyes.

          • Londonsteve says:

            I make a point of referring to British immigrants in the context of those that have moved overseas. For that’s what they are and most are economically inactive trying to make their meagre pensions go further because the provisions are inadequate for many to afford a decent living standard in their home country. They say they move for the ‘weather’ and ‘lifestyle’, when if they’re being really honest, they’ve moved because many would be on the breadline if they stayed in the UK.

      • LittleNick says:

        Bit unfortunate that partly due to The Telegraph’s actions most of them don’t have the legal right to move anywhere sensible, but still 🙂
        Where is anywhere sensible?

        • Spaghetti Town says:

          I can’t think of any sensible place to go anymore. I would have said New Zealand at one point but that’s also going down hill from what i see and hear.

          • Roy says:


          • Spaghetti Town says:

            That said, despite recent problems, the UK isn’t that bad at all.

            Functioning institutions, the rule of law, relatively high standards of living, no extreme natural disasters, welfare state, a healthcare system (when it works) and nobody can carry automatic weapons around with them.

          • shanghaiguizi says:

            Malaysia. Cheap, safe, amazing weather, delicious food, friendly people. I got out the UK last year and the day I manage to give up my UK passport will be the happiest day of my life. Let the brexiters wallow in their muck.

            When I originally left the UK in 2004 I remember it being a positive, friendly, welcoming and safe place. When I returned in 2012 I felt it wasn’t the country I left. I felt it was full of racist, xenophobic, angry, bitter, old people. It only got worse through brexit.

            I’m ashamed to be British today. No skin off my back though. The UK’s loss is Malaysia’s gain. Now I get to watch from the outside as the wheels slowly fall off the proverbial bus.

      • Joe says:

        Not generally beyond the wit of man to get a visa.

        • Rob says:

          How many countries with a European standard of living will let you move there, permanently, with no job? Very few. We’re not talking about a 3-month tourist visa or a 12 month digital nomad visa, we’re talking about a country which will let you turn up with no job and give you permanent right to remain

          • Joe says:

            Unless you are retired I would say its pretty foolish to attempt a permanent move abroad without having a job lined up already – Brexit hasn’t changed that. I have family in Germany and am entitled to a residence permit there but I wouldn’t dream of moving there unless I had a good offer of employment first.

          • Rob says:

            You’ll have a far higher standard of living in Germany. It’s just a bit dull outside Berlin in my view, and as someone who has lived most of his life in 19th century buildings in 18/19th century areas I find the dominant post war architecture uninspiring. Apart from that you’re laughing.

            Jamie, who does a bit of work for us occasionally, just bought a massive place in a lovely French village for €160,000. His partner works remotely as a graphic designer and he pops back to the UK as necessary for £500/day freelance work.

          • Louie says:

            Australia. You need the skills they are looking for and to be under 45 generally but once you have your visa you don’t actually need to work either in your field of skills or at all if you choose.

          • LittleNick says:

            Why should a country give you a permanent right to remain without a job or for retirement?

          • Rob says:

            Before Brexit, quite a lot of them did 🙂

            I’m not saying you don’t work but there is a big difference between moving abroad because a new employer will pay to sponsor a visa (still possible) and moving abroad with nothing planned and looking for work / starting a business when there (now hard).

          • Gordon says:

            @Rob, Yes property is very affordable in France, I have been pondering for a while now at a property purchase, easy access from the uk by train car & ferry.

      • Joe says:

        The EU is not a decent alternative either. It suffers from the exact same malaise. Plus the number of jobs that don’t require high level language skills are low.

        Maybe Luxembourg, but nowhere else.

        • Joe says:

          Edit: living in Switzerland – near the German border, I really don’t agree with Rob’s comments. Germany is by and large no higher salary than the UK. Property is overvalued (compared to France and Switzerland – the latter is expensive but for good reason given tax rates).

          German tax and health insurance combined is an absolute killer. Germans have very little money in their pocket at the end of the month. Mean wealth levels are significantly below the UKs.

          • Stephan says:

            I think of you strip out London UK mean drops to pretty low levels. Whereas if you knock off the top city in Germany it doesn’t change the mean much so not sure mean means much.

          • Londonsteve says:

            German property overvalued? Have you seen the price of UK property recently?

            I’d move to Germany in a heartbeat, if I could. Moving from the UK to Germany is akin to moving from a developing country to a fully developed one.

          • Londonsteve says:

            Strip out London with its army of ultra highly paid professionals and median incomes adjusted for PPP in Germany knocks the socks off of the UK, even when expressed as a net figure. Not to mention the reward for paying relatively high levels of taxation and social welfare contributions is a healthcare system that works, roads that aren’t full of holes and a safety net that’s there for you when you need it. The UK taxes at around 80% of German levels but doesn’t offer 80% of the German package, more like 50%, if that. UK living standards for the median worker are increasingly resembling those of ex-Communist central Europe.

  • MrMcBurger says:

    ULEZ is a london thing, so will leave that argument up to Londoners at the next Mayor election. I am concerned of it coming in for other cities (not personally affected as I drive an EV) – I think £12.50 is a lot, as those likely to have an old banger is probably the best they can afford. A youngster who just passed their test, need a car for work in the service idustry are having an hour of their wages 100% taxed just for turning up. So there is something not quite joined up in the thinking. Affected car owners could apply a single set route exemption for example. If they take a detour or take a different route then they pay the ULEZ. £12.50 per day = £72.50 for a 5 day week = £300 a month. Cant get a compliant car for that amount per month?

  • NorthernLass says:

    I will admit that I just had to ask my OH what the difference is between ULEZ and the congestion charge! From the perspective of a tourist, it is nice having so much less traffic around when sightseeing, I really noticed this on my last couple of visits. Of course I would feel different if it was affecting my livelihood!

    • Roy says:

      I suspect there are other reasons for that. Very few people would ever drive in to the central London by choice – not least because there’s nowhere to park! Central London traffic is mainly taxis and commercial traffic…

  • ChrisBCN says:

    Part of me is a little depressed reading some of the uninformed comments here, and the parroting of falsehoods from elsewhere. It amazes me that so many people get so angry and ranty, even though their comments make it clear they don’t actually have a clue what’s going on!

    And I’m also relieved, at how many sensible people have engaged back, not something that you see in other places 🙏

    • Tom says:

      This is fundamentally how social media discussion works, there is no filter so the shoutiest voices get heard and the moderate ones generally get drowned out. Everyone sits in an echo chamber and is pushed towards extreme views (both right and left).

      If you want to feel slightly better about the UK, have you seen the state of public discourse in the US right now? Just five minutes watching the Republican presidential debate is enough to make me borderline suicidal.

    • Tom B says:

      The issue with the ULEZ debate is there is an extremely loud and militant minority opposition. I get it, people don’t like having to change their behaviour or feel someone is taking away their right to something, especially when charges are involved, but from my experience a lot more people are supportive of measures to clean up the air in densely populated cities. It’s hard to mount a rational argument that puts driving entitlement and convenience for one person above public health and clean air for everyone. The issue is the quiet majority who stand to benefit from these measures don’t make much noise nor do they really campaign for it. Whether you like him or not, I suspect Khan will easily win the next mayoral election, Conservatives ripping up cycle lanes and abolishing LTNs may think these policies are vote-winners but they are surprisingly out of touch, especially as the general public become increasingly cognisant of environmental and health issues.

      • Londonsteve says:

        Khan will certainly win the next mayoral election, especially against the ‘no name’ Tory candidate. The Tories are whipping up anti-ULEZ sentiment in order to try to capture or retain outer London parliamentary seats at the next GE, that’s the motivation behind all this manufactured outrage. It’s particularly egregious because a) the ULEZ was the invention of a Tory mayor and Shapps forced the expansion on Khan when negotiating the bailout of TFL caused by the pandemic related decline in fare revenue, and b) electing or retaining a Tory MP will make precisely no difference to ULEZ. They might as well come out against establishing colonies on the moon; it’s not within their power or remit to do anything about it!

        • Darren says:

          Shapps wanted Khan to expand the congestion charging zone as far as the 2021 ULEZ expansion (not ULEZ), rightly or wrongly the current expansion is all Khan

    • vlcnc says:

      People are lazy and actually don’t find out what the facts are and what it actually means. They just get riled up and triggered by our awful right wing press in this anti-environment culture war and don’t question it.

    • Londonsteve says:

      Hear hear.

  • Londonsteve says:

    I think ULEZ is great. I’m getting a 2k grant and whatever the scrapyard will pay me for a car that’s worth £800 on a good day. It gets smoky old 15 year old diesel SUVs and luxury cars being driven by those desirous of a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget off the road, as invariably they cannot afford to maintain them and drive them around with removed particulate filters and deleted EGR valves, or alternatively they just allow them to spew smoke as they can’t afford to repair them but still seek to use them to take the kids to school and drive to work. It’s also the end of the self employed delivery driver using a similarly poorly maintained old wreck with gerrymandered anti-pollution equipment driving around the suburbs with his foot welded to the floor in the quest of getting out yet another delivery before nightfall.

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    Currently, it looks like you can get into the Sofitel at T5 or T5 drop off at LHR without triggering a camera, IF you come directly off the M25 as signed………..

    • Londonsteve says:

      This map is simply incorrect. I know of cameras round my way that are not marked on the map. There are way more cameras than the map suggests.

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