Driving Regulations in London

Jack Dreyer | Thursday 6th June 2024 9:00am

London bridge with Big Ben in the background.

Navigating the busy roads of London can be both a challenging and exciting experience. Nevertheless, itís important to stay informed about a cityís driving regulations so that you donít end up in trouble, or with a hefty fine.

From congestion charges to red routes, the driving rules governing the roads of London are designed to make the city a safer and cleaner place for all road users.

In this blog, we will explore the key driving regulations that you should know about before travelling to the capital.

What charges should you be aware of in London?

If youíre new to driving in London, itís important to be aware of what charges are in place and when they operate. The three most common driving charges in the capital are the congestion charge, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), and the Low Emission Zone (LEZ).

Congestion charge

Although the congestion charge has been in place for over 20 years, itís an important driving regulation to be aware of if youíre planning to travel through central London.

The charge applies to most vehicles between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday and 12pm to 6pm on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays. For anyone travelling between Christmas Day and New Yearís Day bank holiday, itís completely free!

It costs £15 if you pay the charge in advance or on the same day, otherwise you will be charged £17.50 if you pay up to three days after you travel.

A road with the ULEZ zone sign.

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

ULEZ was introduced several years ago to help improve air quality in the city and, whilst it hasnít always been well received, it has improved vehicle compliance with clean air standards from 39 percent to 95 percent.

In order for vehicles to be exempt from paying the ULEZ charge, they need to meet the minimum emissions standards when travelling within the affected zone. The charge operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except Christmas Day, and across all London boroughs, excluding the M25.

Some vehicles are exempt from paying the ULEZ fee, such as lorries and coaches, but are required to pay the LEZ charge if they do not meet the required standards.

Low Emission Zone (LEZ)

The LEZ charge was set up to encourage the most polluting heavy diesel vehicles driving in London to become cleaner. It covers most of Greater London and also operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week - unfortunately, you donít get Christmas day off!

Busy London roads filled with traffic.

Permit scheme for heavy goods vehicles

For any business or self-employed professional that operates a heavy goods vehicle (HGVs) over 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight, they will need to obtain a Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and HGV safety permit to drive in Greater London. Without the permit, businesses or professionals may receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

The permit scheme is part of the Vision Zero for London strategy, which aims to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on the cityís roads and make the area a safer, healthier, and greener place.

With left turning HGVs being a leading cause of cyclist fatalities, and limited visibility being a risk to vulnerable road users, the DVS measures will require heavy goods vehicles over 12 tonnes to have at least a three star rating to operate in Greater London, from 28th October 2024.

Queues of traffic on London roads.

Red routes

Red routes are in place to help reduce congestion and ensure crucial deliveries and journeys can be made safely. Whilst they make up 5% of Londonís roads, they carry up to 30% of the cityís traffic - a huge number of vehicles for a small number of roads. This not only negatively affects pollution in the area, but increases the risk of accidents occurring.

Any vehicles not following the signs and road markings could be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of up to £160, reduced to £80 if itís paid within 14 days.

Stay on track with Kwik Fit

There you have it - the key driving regulations to be aware of in London. Donít forget, local driving rules are constantly being reviewed and changed, so itís important to keep up to speed with whatís happening.

You can read more about the latest trends, news, and updates to driving regulations over on our blog.

And, if you require an MOT, car service, or free brake inspection, donít hesitate to reach out to your local Kwik Fit centre. Our expert team is always happy to help!

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Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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