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  • March 11, 2022

  • Abby Nuttall

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced plans to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) across London next year.

In an announcement earlier this week the Mayor asked Transport for London (TfL) to consult on expanding the boundaries of the current ULEZ in 2023.

His proposed changes will also tighten the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards, to help reduce harmful pollutants like nitrogen oxide.

Sadiq Khan has also asked TfL to explore the option of getting rid of road user charges, including the ULEZ and Congestion Charge and instead charge drivers on a per mile basis, which could allow different rates based on the level of pollution the vehicle produces. However, such a scheme is likely years in the future, which is why he’s also requested the expansion of the ULEZ next year.

This follows an expansion of the area covered by the ULEZ in October last year, which brought it to a space that was 18 time the original, which covered the same area as the Congestion Charge. The zone currently covers most of inner London, but the new plans would aim for it to extend to all the outer boroughs as well.

It is reported that the October expansion brought a 30% reduction in the amount of nitrogen oxide emissions in London, helping to improve the air quality for all in the area as well as reduce congestion and improve overall emission levels. With the expansion to cover all of Greater London it’s expected to drop another 10% potentially and remove between 20,000 and 40,000 polluting vehicles from the area.

The charge for non-compliant vehicles is currently £12.50 for a day, and unlike the Congestion Charge this scheme is operational 24 hours a day seven days a week.

To be compliant petrol cars need to meet Euro 4 emission standards (mandatory on all new vehicles since 2005) and diesel vehicles must meet Euro 6 standards (mandatory since 2015).

Before any expansion can take place, TfL will need to have a public and stakeholder consultation and a full integrated impact assessment to look at if the plan is viable and how it will affect residents, businesses and commuters in the area.

In his speech on Friday (4th of March) the Mayor also pledged to help charities, small businesses, disabled people and low income residents who could be negatively impacted by the London wide ULEZ so that they can adapt. This support will include a scrappage scheme, similar to the one previously operated in the city centre, where motorists in outer London can scrap their older, more pollutant vehicles and switch to a new ULEZ compliant vehicle, use a car club vehicle or public transport. He will be calling on the government to assist with this scrappage scheme and the funding for it.

The extended ULEZ will operate just as the existing road user charging schemes, including the current ULEZ and any profit from the scheme will be spent on delivering the Mayor’s transport strategy which includes local schemes to provide and encourage the uptake of sustainable travel in the city.

Find out more here.

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