Information about ULEZ and other Clean Air Zone Charges and Fines
I’ve received an unexpected charge after changing my registration - what do I do?
We’ve been made aware that a very small number of drivers have been getting unexpected ULEZ charges soon after completion of a registration mark transfer. As long as your vehicle is ULEZ compliant, you shouldn’t have to pay a fine, but in very rare cases internal database update delays can sometimes lead to charges being issued in error.
We contacted Transport for London (TFL) to ask what to do if you receive an unexpected charge after changing the registration number on a vehicle and we believe that their advice on how to proceed should be followed in any case where motorists are fined because databases are out of sync.
This is the response we received on 23/08/2023:
“Please be advised when the DVLA updates their records, there can be a delay for this to reflect on our system as our databases are updated periodically.
Your customers can email our ULEZ team copies of their V5 and an agent will review their vehicle. If the vehicle does comply with the ULEZ requirements, they will then amend this on their system. They can email these documents to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
So, just send a copy of your V5 registration certificate to email@example.com. They will be able to check the vehicle details and if they comply with ULEZ requirements, it should be sorted! You can do this by taking photos with your smartphone of the pages (make sure all 4 corners are in the pictures!)
Use our free template to contact ULEZ or any other authority
We have prepared a template for you to send to the authority which has wrongly issued you a fine by email. Please copy and paste this information into a new email. Don’t forget to attach a copy of your V5, especially the page which shows when your vehicle was first registered (usually the first blue and green page with all the data).
Subject: Challenging a charge: [Insert a reference number from your paperwork]
To whom it may concern,
I have recently changed the registration mark on my vehicle on [insert date].
I have received a notice advising that I need to pay a charge due to my vehicle not meeting the emission standards. My vehicle has always met the emission standards, before and after changing the registration mark on the vehicle.
Please see attached my current V5 Registration Certificate showing the emissions of my vehicle and that they are still the same as before I changed the number plate.
Please investigate this matter, remove this charge and confirm by return email.
Kind regards, [Insert your name]
I’m Worried I’ll Receive a Fine if I change my Number Plate - what do I do?
Don’t panic - and don’t let this keep you from getting the plate you want. This only happens to a very small percentage of people, and even then it is easily fixed as above.
I don’t understand ULEZ and Clean Air Zones? - can you explain?
ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) was set up in 2017 to encourage less people to drive in the centre of London. Its purpose is to reduce the emissions in the area, lowering the amount of air pollution. This is because pollution increases the risk of life changing illnesses such as cancer, asthma, lung disease etc.
Similar schemes are appearing in other cities, such as Bristol and Birmingham’s “Clean Air Zone” and we expect to see more areas introduced across the UK in the future.
How do I know if my car meets ULEZ standards?
There is an online checker where you type in your registration - but if TFL has not received your updated registration then you may find it better to manually check the requirements.
We have included some ULEZ compliance requirements at the end of this guide, but always check the up-to-date regulations on the TFL website here:
What about other Clean Air Zones?
There are a number of other zones like ULEZ throughout the UK - there may be one in your area. These may function similarly to ULEZ, or there may be differences. Always check the regulations in your area.
If you believe you’ve been unfairly sent a fine due to a change of registration, contact the relevant transport service and ask how best to proceed - it’s likely that they will want your V5 as evidence.
How do I know if my car meets these standards?
Government information about Clean Air Zones Including areas affected and a vehicle checker
Is my car ULEZ compliant?
The aim of the ULEZ is to reduce pollution and improve air quality in London by introducing a charge for vehicles that don’t meet new exhaust emissions standards.
Initially, the ULEZ area was the same as the current Congestion charge zone across central London. However, from 29th August 2023, the ULEZ expanded to encompass the rest of the capital as far as the M25 in many places.
The standards of the ULEZ are currently as follows:
ULEZ-compliant petrol cars:
- Must meet Euro 4, Euro 5 or Euro 6 emissions standards
- Were generally registered after 2005 but always check your specific vehicle.
ULEZ-compliant diesel cars:
- Must be Euro 6 compliant
- Were generally registered after September 2015 but always check your specific vehicle.
ULEZ-compliant hybrid and electric cars:
- With diesel engines: Must meet Euro 6 standards
- With petrol engines: Must meet Euro 4 standards
ULEZ-compliant vans and motorbikes:
- Diesel vans must be Euro 6 compliant
- Petrol vans must be Euro 4 compliant
- Motorbikes must be Euro 3 compliant