Land Rovers & LEZ

If you own a Land Rover, especially a Series or Defender and live around London, you will have had to grapple with the Congestion Charge, LEZ and ULEZ. No doubt you have jumped around the TFL site to try and work it all out. Well, I thought I’d selfishly gather together the useful bits for people like me.

What are the Three Zones?

The Congestion Charge is the charge for driving in the very centre of London. It can always be avoided unless you actually need to go to somewhere inside it. It is clearly signposted where the charge begins and operates:

  • 07:00-18:00 on weekdays
  • Not on Bank Holidays, weekends or between Christmas and New Year

All vehicles are affected, it costs £10 per day and you can set-up “Auto-pay” to save you having to remember to pay it.

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone covers the same area as the Congestion Charge Zone (orange bit) but will expand from 25th October 2021 (yellow bit) to be the inside of the North and South Circulars. The charges apply:

  • 24 hours a day
  • Except Christmas Day

ULEZ costs £12.50 for most vehicle types, including cars, motorcycles and vans (up to and including 3.5 tonnes) and £100 for heavier vehicles, including lorries (over 3.5 tonnes) and buses/coaches (over 5 tonnes) that don’t meet the strict ULEZ standards. For Land Rovers, that means being Euro4 for petrol and Euro6 for diesel. You won’t be if your car is older than about 2005. So you’ll be paying the £12.50.

The Low Emission Zone covers everywhere inside the M25, but not the M25 itself. It operates:

  • 24 hours a day, every day

The LEZ generally applies to commercial vehicles and cars are exempt, but not “4×4 Light Utility Vehicles”. Since 26th October 2020, the standards have tightened for HGVs and certain other vehicle types, but the rules for Land Rovers have remained the same.

For Land Rover owners that consider they own a “car”, you may be surprised to learn that you instead own a “4×4 Utility” vehicle, which is NOT exempt. Check your V5C certificate to see what it says. If it is an “Estate Car”, it was a County Station Wagon or CSW when it left the factory and you are fine. Check your reg here to be sure.

If your car chassis number indicates it is a CSW AND it still has the side windows and seats, you can get a V5C corrected by writing a nice letter to the DVLA, then follow up with a similar one to TFL to ask them to amend their records.

If your car was retro-fitted with seats and side windows, you still own a “4×4 Utility” and will be liable for the charge. That’s why van-bodied Defenders are cheaper than CSW ones around London. If you are shopping for a new Defender,check the chassis number and V5C.

So what does this mean?

I recommend checking for yourself but basically:

CSW Drivers:

  • If you drive inside the M25 in a correctly-listed CSW, you don’t pay anything until you hit the ULEZ.
  • If you drive inside the North/South Circular after 25th October 2021, you pay £12.50 ULEZ
  • If you drive inside central London, you also pay £10 congestion charge

Non-CSW Drivers:

  • If you drive inside the M25 you pay £100 LEZ charge.
  • If you drive inside the North/South Circular after 25th October 2021, you also pay £12.50 ULEZ
  • If you drive inside central London, you also pay £10 congestion charge

For all the above there are various exemptions such as LEZ exemption for vehicles older than 1973.