Can I drive a rented car through the ULEZ?

Can I drive a rented car through the ULEZ?

Love it or hate it (and let’s be honest, plenty of people do), London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone is here to stay. That means if you find yourself driving to London on a regular basis, whether in a private capacity or on a professional basis, then those emissions standards will be something you’ll need to consistently bear in mind. Now, you’ll probably know by now whether or not your personal vehicle (or company vehicles) meet those emissions standards, but what happens when you hire a car or van?

What is the Ultra Low Emissions Zone?

The ULEZ was introduced in central London in April 2019 as part of efforts to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions – which has long been established as a legally-binding target for the city’s leadership. Vehicles driving within the ULEZ area need to meet strict emissions standards or pay a daily charge for every day they’re within the zone’s boundaries, however long that may be. The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays.

Can you drive a rented car through the ULEZ?

Yes, you can drive a rented car through the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London. However, the vehicle must meet emissions standards to avoid charges. Petrol cars typically need to meet Euro 4 standards (vehicles registered after 2005), while diesel cars need to meet to Euro 6 standards (vehicles registered after 2015).

It’s best to verify the vehicle’s compliance before entering the ULEZ boundary – you can do this primarily by checking with the rental company, or using TfL's online tools. Failure to meet standards results in a daily charge, applicable 24/7, which you’d then be obliged to pay in addition to the normal rental fees.

What happens if I’ve accidentally driven a non-compliant vehicle through the ULEZ?

If you've accidentally driven a vehicle that doesn't meet ULEZ standards through the zone, don’t panic – you can pay the daily charge retroactively. The ULEZ charge can typically be paid online, by phone, or through the TfL website within a specified timeframe after the journey. Usually, that’s by midnight on the following day.

What’s more, you may want to consider registering for TfL's Auto Pay service, which automatically pays the daily ULEZ charge for vehicles that enter the zone frequently. This can help avoid any worries about you or your team forgetting to pay and incurring penalties. The crucial thing is that it's always essential to pay promptly, so make sure to establish systems and processes that ensure everyone remembers – however high-tech or low-tech you want those systems to be!

And of course, if you’re ever unsure about whether or not one of our own hire vehicles meets the ULEZ standards, don’t hesitate to ask one of our team here at Intack, we’re proud to have over 50 years of experience in vancar and minibus hire, and our extensive fleet comprises of more than 450 vehicles, including cars, vans, and minibuses. We offer both Flexi hire and daily hire options, so you can rent the vehicle for as long or as little as you need! Feel free to contact us at 01254 57811, and we would be more than happy to help you in any way we can!

Posted in Company news on