Transport for London (TfL) is consulting on plans to expand the Capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) so that it covers the whole city from next year.
The zone was first introduced in April 2019 and charges non-compliant vehicles – mostly diesel cars that are more than six years old and petrol cars that are more than 15 years old – £12.50 for each day they are in the zone. TfL said that more than four in five vehicles in outer London, which would be affected by the expanded zone, already meet ULEZ standards.
The newly proposed boundary would cover almost all (96 per cent) of Greater London and is designed to make sure there are opportunities for vehicles to turn around should they not wish to enter the Zone.
Six months after the rules were originally introduced, roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution was shown to have fallen by 36 per cent when compared to February 2017.
The ULEZ was already expanded significantly in October last year to cover the area inside the North and South Circular roads.
TfL said the zone needed to be expanded to “protect the health and wellbeing of Londoners”, adding that poor air quality was attributable to a greater number of deaths for those living in outer London boroughs than those in inner London.
The proposals also include changes to the penalty charge level for non-payment of the daily ULEZ and Congestion Charge from £160 to £180, but also the removal of the £10 per vehicle annual Auto Pay registration fee.
It would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 364 days a year, excluding Christmas Day.
An analysis by the PA news agency found that over 3.5 million more people will live within the zone if it is expanded as planned.
The office of London Mayor Sadiq Khan estimated that an additional 135,000 vehicles would be affected per day.
Writing on Twitter, Khan said: “I’m not willing to stand by and wait when there is more we can do in outer London that could make a difference.
“We will be doers, not delayers, not only to protect Londoners’ health right now, but for the sake of future generations to come.”
In March, researchers found that not a single country had managed to meet the World Health Organization’s PM2.5 annual air quality guidelines.
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