On 8 April 2019, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will launch in central London to help improve air quality and the health of Londoners.

From 2021, this zone will be expanded to encompass the North and South Circular boundaries. However, all private hire vehicles registered as wheelchair-accessible by TfL will be exempt from the charge until 26 October 2025.

All other PHVs will need to meet exhaust emission standards (ULEZ standards) or pay an additional daily charge when travelling within central London.

From 1 January 2018 all PHVs licensed for the first time must have a Euro 6 petrol or diesel engine, or a Euro 4 petrol-hybrid engine.

You will need to consider these new emission standards ahead of the launch of the zone and should check if your vehicle will meet the standards to help you plan ahead.

Zero Emission Capable (ZEC) vehicles

A ZEC vehicle is defined as having a zero emission range of at least 20 miles and must produce less than 75g/km CO2.

There are three categories of ZEC vehicles, which are defined in line with the government's Plug-in Car Grant categories.

The licensing requirements will be introduced in phases. This phased approach will ensure that by 1 January 2023, all vehicles granted a private hire licence for the first time will be ZEC, regardless of age. There are several milestones to be aware of:

1 January 2018 to 31 December 2019

In advance of the zero emission capable requirements from 2020, all PHVs licensed for the first time during this period must have a Euro 6 petrol or diesel engine, or a Euro 4 petrol-hybrid engine.

1 January 2020 to 31 December 2022

  • All new (less than 18 months old) PHVs licensed for the first time will have to be zero emission capable
  • PHVs over 18 months old will need to have a Euro 6 engine when licensed for the first time

From 1 January 2023

All PHVs (of any age) will need to be zero emission capable when licensed for the first time.

Private Hire ULEZ requirements

From 8 April 2019, all PHVs travelling in the ULEZ zone must meet certain emissions standards or pay a £12.50 charge per day, unless they are registered as wheelchair accessible by TfL.

  • Petrol cars, vans and minibuses must be Euro 4
  • Diesel cars, vans and minibuses must be Euro 6

The emissions standard of your vehicle can usually be determined from the date of its first registration as new, which is shown on the vehicle's registration document known as the V5C.

Read our page on complying with ULEZ for more information on checking the emissions of your vehicle.

In addition to the ULEZ requirements, the licensing requirements for PHVs will change to encourage uptake of zero emission capable PHVs from 2020. These requirements will apply to PHVs across the whole of London, not just those travelling in the ULEZ.

Government Plug-in Car Grant

The Government currently offers a Plug-in Car Grant to reduce the initial cost of purchasing a new ultra low emission vehicle. This grant is applied to the vehicle at the point of sale. The size of the grant depends on its carbon emissions and electric range:

Category 1 Category 2 Category 3
CO2 <50g/km <50g/km 50-75g/km
Zero emission range (miles) 70+ 10-69 20+
Maximum grant £4,500 £2,500 £2,500
Price cap -  £60,000