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London-wide ULEZ expansion will price out third of drivers

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The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) could be expanded to cover the whole of the capital from next summer.

A consultation has been published to expand the ULEZ to include greater London which could see drivers of the most polluting vehicles charged £12.50 a day (excluding Christmas Day) from 29 August 2023.

Petrol cars that meet the ULEZ standards are generally those first registered from 2005 (euro 4).

Diesel cars that meet the standards are generally those first registered after September 2015 (euro 6).

Transport for London and the Mayor of London said “bold action” is required to tackle the capital’s toxic air crisis.

They revealed around 4,000 premature deaths in 2019 were attributed to filthy air, with the greatest number in outer London (Bromley, Barnet, Havering and Croydon) which aren’t currently under the ULEZ boundary.

Sadiq Khan said if a larger zone were introduced, the number of cars not meeting the tough ULEZ standards each day in outer London would fall from 160,000 to 46,000 while the number of vans would falls from 42,000 to 26,000.

As part of the proposals, the penalties for non-payment of the ULEZ and Congestion Charge would rise from £160 to £180 (£80 to £90 if paid within 14 days).

Further, it would also see the removal of the £10 auto pay per vehicle annual registration fee.

Khan said: “The air Londoners breathe is so toxic it stunts children’s lungs, exacerbates chronic illness and contributes to thousands of premature deaths each year. More than half of the 500,000 Londoners with asthma live in outer London and all areas of London still breach safe levels of pollution.

“That’s why my proposals for expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone are the right thing to do. Air pollution is not just a central London issue and Londoners in the outer boroughs should be able to enjoy the clean air benefits the ULEZ brings.”

The AA said a third of drivers could be priced off London’s roads as Transport for London data points to a 34% impact on drivers in some areas of the capital. The consultation also admits that 18% of vehicles will be hit by the charges.

It said that the original ULEZ impacted 300,000 car-owing London residents, the majority of which came from low-income backgrounds without the ability to afford a replacement vehicle.

“This expansion of the zone will price hundreds of thousands more off the road,” says Jack Cousens, the AA’s head of roads policy.

Cousens added: “These drivers and their families will, hopefully, be starting to recover from the cost-of-living crisis in August of next year. The London Mayor wants to hit them with a charge or a car-replacement cost that they will never be able to afford.”

He suggested expanding park & ride as well as park & cycle facilities on the outskirts of the city to help lower emissions.

“With pump prices so high, there is little difference in cost to driving from outside into inner London than taking public transport. By train or underground, the journey time is halved, which makes park & ride a no-brainer,” he added.

The consultation runs until 29 July 2022.

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