Holidaymakers face ULEZ charge when driving to Heathrow Airport as London’s emission zone expands

ULEZ zone to cover Heathrow Airport - what it means for holidaymakers. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)
ULEZ zone to cover Heathrow Airport - what it means for holidaymakers. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

The new ULEZ charges coming into force in London from 29 August means holidaymakers flying to and from a major UK airport may be subject to a charge.

The Ultra Low Emission scheme (ULEZ) already covers Central London up to the North and South Circular Roads but soon it will cover the roads surrounding Heathrow Airport as it expands up to the Surrey border. This means holidaymakers arriving and leaving the airport by car may face a fee of up to £25.

Vehicles that pass through the Zone need to meet certain emission standards or pay £12.50 a day. It doesn’t matter how long or why you’re entering a ULEZ area, if your vehicle does not meet the requirements you will be charged.

If you drive into an ULEZ area, like Heathrow airport, in a car that doesn’t comply you will have to pay a £12.50 fee which means that if you are arriving and then leaving the airport it will cost you £25. The £12.50 payment covers one day, however, only certain vehicles will have to pay when entering a ULEZ area.

Vehicles that meet the Euro emission standards will not be charged. The majority of petrol vehicles made after January 2006, and diesel vehicles from after September 2015 already meet these standards.

The ULEZ standards are:

  • 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

Vehicles registered outside of the UK also need to meet the requirements and you can see if you are compliant by using Transport For London’s number plate checker.

If the extra road charges puts you off wanting to drive to Heathrow Airport there are other options you can consider such as taking a coach or a train. The airport has a coach and train station, which allow you to get around Surrey without your car.

The London Mayor made a £2,000 grant available to all residents in the capital to help them to upgrade their non-compliant cars and vehicles. The scheme previously covered only a portion of drivers who were entitled to means-tested benefits and was opened on Monday 21 August.

ULEZ was introduced to try and curb high levels of air pollution in the capital. It still has the backing of the majority of Londoners according to polling from our sister website LondonWorld in July 2023.

It showed 58% of those 1,100 people polled backed the scheme as it was at the moment, with 52% stating that they had noticed an improvement in air quality.