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Six out of 10 motorists say it’s the wrong time to expand ULEZ during cost-of-living crisis

Nick Cheek
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Nick Cheek

More than half of motorists believe that it is the wrong time to expand London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), research from a motor online marketplace has found,

Research complied by Carwow revealed that six on out of ten drivers think that 29 August (the set date) is the wrong time to roll out ULEZ to cover the whole of London. But 56% did agree that the attempt to reduce carbon in the atmosphere would be better for future generations.

Under the current ULEZ scheme, a daily charge of £12.50 is incurred if vehicles driven around parts of inner city London do not meet the required emission standards. The Carwow survey also discovered that there is a confusion amongst Londoners about just how the current ULEZ zone works.

Overall, 66% of those asked said they do not understand the current scheme, while 64% were unsure if their cars would not meet the emission standards and have to pay charges. Potentially, the ULEZ expansion could result in chaos as cash-strapped motorists could incur charges without being aware of it.

The judicial review into Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans began on 4 July, as five Conservative led councils dispute the expansion and the increased financial pressure it will place on motorists. On the first day of the hearing, the councils said that London’s Mayor did not have the legal powers to extend ULEZ across the capital.

Drivers between “rock and a hard place”

Hugo Griffiths, consumer editor and automotive expert at carwow, said: “Drivers are caught between rocks and hard places when it comes to the rise of ULEZ. On the one hand, there’s broad support for improving urban air quality and a general sense that emission zones are the right way to go about this, but on the other, many people are simply too up against it to think that now is the right time to be expanding or introducing zones.

“For those on tight budgets, a compliant car can be relatively affordable as long as you’re prepared to compromise: any petrol car from 2006 onwards should make the Low Emission Zone grade. Be sure to use Transport for London or carwow’s online ULEZ checker, as emission regulations for cars were introduced over time, so there’s no hard and fast rule for whether or not a vehicle will be compliant.

“We obviously don’t know what will happen in the review, but even if the expansion is delayed, it is likely it will still happen at some point, so if your car doesn’t meet ULEZ zone requirements and you frequently drive into London, it could be a good idea to consider selling it sooner rather than later.”