London introduced Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) in 2019, and October 2021 saw their biggest expansion yet, covering around 3.8 million people. Vehicles driving within the zone must meet the low emission standards or pay a charge.
Now, Mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed that plans to expand the ULEZ zone into all of Greater London will go ahead by the end of next year. Drivers of certain polluting vehicles will be required to pay a £12.50 daily charge if they drive their vehicle anywhere in London. Drivers entering central London will also have to pay the additional £15 congestion charge.
The Mayor had also been considering a £3.50 Greater London charge for out-of-town vehicles entering the city, as well as a £2-a-day “clean air charge” on all petrol and deisal cars driving in the capital, but both these proposals have been scrapped.
According to a study from City Hall, around 20,000 to 40,000 polluting vehicles need to come off the road to deliver a 10 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxide.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The triple challenges of tackling toxic air pollution, the climate emergency and congestion mean we need to further reduce emissions from vehicles in London. We simply don’t have time to waste.
“In weighing up the different options, the rising cost of living was a key consideration for me. Because at a time when people’s budgets are under pressure, I’m not willing to ask people to pay more unless I’m absolutely convinced it’s justified to save lives and protect the health of Londoners.
“I believe the proposal to extend the Ulez London-wide will have the biggest effect on emissions and congestion relative to the potential financial impact on Londoners as a whole.”
In January, it was reported that Sadiq Khan was considering these new measures following an alarming new new environmental report.
The Net-Zero By 2030 report by Element Energy outlined what is required to meet climate goals in London, and Mayor Sadiq Khan has now called for fast action.
In the report, experts said car traffic must decrease by 27% in the next decade in order to meet the targets. It was also found that more than a third of car trips taken by Londoners could be walked in 25 minutes or less, and two-thirds could be cycled in under 20 minutes.
Following today’s (March 4) announcement of new measures, he added: “This is also a matter of social justice – with air pollution hitting the poorest communities the hardest. Nearly half of Londoners don’t own a car, but they are disproportionally feeling the damaging consequences polluting vehicles are causing.
“I’m determined that we continue to be doers, not delayers in London – not only to protect Londoners’ health right now, but for the sake of future generations to come.”