FOI request detail

London ULEZ scheme advertising spread

Request ID: FOI-0155-2324
Date published: 10 May 2023

You asked

Dear sirs I would like to request any information in relation to the advertising and promotion of the current ULEZ scheme prior to and during its rollout. I am particularly interested as to when and where advertisements were placed to promote the scheme and details of any public awareness campaigns to clarify to the public as to what obligations the ULEZ scheme would place upon drivers. I would also like to know if the scheme was advertised outside of the London area, and if so what areas or towns the scheme was advertised within, and what methods were used to advertise the scheme (newspapers, web ads, billboards etc) Many thanks.

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-0155-2324

Thank you for your request received on 15 April 2023 asking for information about the advertising and promotion of the current Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) scheme.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm that we do hold the information you require.

TfL ran a large-scale multi-channel comprehensive information campaign targeting both private and commercial vehicle owners in both London and the surrounding areas with the aim of raising awareness about the expansion of the central ULEZ up to the North and South Circular roads in 25 October 2021. The campaign launched 5 October 2020 giving drivers over a year to prepare for the expansion. Advertising also ran post the zone expanding.
The messaging explained where and how the expanded ULEZ will operate, the hours of operation, which vehicles were affected and the required emissions standards, where to check a vehicle, and the cost of the daily charge and how to pay should their vehicle not meet the required emissions standards. There is also detailed information on the TfL website. 

We focussed our efforts on using channels what would cost effectively reach as many drivers as possible. Some of the channels we used reached a wider population outside London and where relevant information on these channels such as radio, TV, and video on demand as well as specialist press has been included below:
  • Letters – 1,068,486 letters were sent to registered keepers of non-compliant vehicles seen in the zone via the DVLA during July, August, September and October 2021. TfL doesn’t hold details of the registered keepers, so we are unable to advise how many of these letters reached drivers outside the Greater London region.
  • Emails to the TfL database – we sent over 5m emails to customers registered on the TfL database  and c. 2.5m of which were sent to customers who do not have a London postcode associated with their TfL record.
  • Radio - Our radio adverts ran on the following stations: Absolute Radio, Capital London, Gold London, Heart London, Jazz FM, Kiss (London and network), LBC, Magic and Radio X London, Sunrise and Smooth London. The airtime has an overspill of 25-30 miles radius outside of London subject to the terrain.  The attached map shows the radio transmission area:
  • TV and video on demand – From 4-24 October 2021 an advert explaining where the expanded zone would operate, the launch date and how to check your vehicle appeared on ITV, Channel 4, London Live and video on demand channels. Whilst the airtime was predominately aimed at London, ITV and Channel 4 airtime has an overspill of up to 50 miles outside of London subject to the terrain. Please see attached TV coverage map.
  • Roadside posters - These ran in London with adverts at key roadside locations, on bus shelters and large format cross-track posters on the tube running from October 2020. Posters also appeared on the public transport network.
  • Specialist press titles - adverts appeared in the following national titles, What Van? Business Car, Fleet World, Van Fleet World, Van User, Electrical Contracting News, Electrical Time Magazine, Heating and Plumbing Monthly, Motorcycle News, What Car? And Route One.
  • Pan London and regional press titles - adverts appeared in the Evening Standard and Metro and in the following regional press titles: Barnet Borough Times, Brent & Kilburn Times, Bromley & Lewisham News Shopper, Barking & Dagenham Post, Camden New Journal, Docklands & East London Advertiser, Enfield Independent, Greenwich Info, Richmond Times, Ilford & Woodford Recorder, Islington & Hackney Gazette, Islington Tribune, Newham & Stratford Recorder, Southwark News, Wandsworth & Wimbledon Times, West London Gazette, Wharf Life, KCW Today, Your Local Guardian.
  • Social media and online video – social media adverts ran on Facebook and Instagram and online video targeted London drivers via third party websites providing visual clarity on the area where the ULEZ expands up to.
  • Google search adverts - directed those interested to the TfL website for further information and to check their vehicle using the online vehicle compliance checker. 
  • Digital display adverts – including via Waze, a wayfinding navigation app, providing information to drivers of the new expanded boundary and where it operates. 
  • Digital radio – within London targeting “London auto owners” and priority London boroughs with high levels of non-compliant vehicles.
In addition to the advertising we also undertook:
  • Engagement with stakeholders - Meetings were held with national bodies including the RAC, AA, British Vehicle Rental and Licensing Association, British Retail Confederation, National Market Traders Federation, the Royal College of Nurses, the TUC, and most of these included pieces on the ULEZ expansion in their national and/or regional publications.
  • Press – A number of press releases were issued during the course of the campaign and they achieved widespread coverage. A number of articles appeared in national broadsheets such as the Financial Times, The Times, Guardian and Independent. There were a series of media events that resulted in the BBC and ITV interviewing the Mayor of London about the ULEZ and it was discussed on BBC London Radio and LBC. 
  • Face to face leafleting - took place for 6-weeks from Saturday 28 August to Friday 15 October. The activity focussed on visiting locations with high natural footfall e.g. shopping centres with 80,000 leaflets distributed across 22 London boroughs. 
  • Leaflet door drop - 633,659 leaflets were distributed 11-28 January 2021 to residents living within a 1.1km radius outside the boundary and 1.875km radius inside the boundary of the expanded zone.
  • Signage – early warning signage was installed at entrances to the expanded zone between July and September 2021, explaining the ULEZ was coming on 25 October 2021. In addition, c.130 electronic variable message signs, on main roads throughout London were used to raise awareness of the start date of the scheme. These appeared two weeks ahead of the zone expanding and remained in place, two weeks after the expansion. This was followed by permanent signage at every entry point along the boundary and along key arterial approaches. 

Post 25 October 2021 advertising continued on the radio, digital display and via Google search as well as posters. In addition, c.2m emails were sent to registered customers on the TfL database. In addition, Waze (a wayfinding driving app) provides information if a destination is affected by the Ultra Low Emission Zone

In addition we have run advertising campaigns during the festive period to raise awareness of the suspension of the ULEZ on Christmas Day as well as messaging to advise drivers of the reinstatement of charging. Messaging has appeared on roadside posters, social media, on Waze (a wayfinding app) and in emails to TfL customers on the TfL database.

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob
Senior FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

[email protected]


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