Later this summer, Sadiq Khan’s plans for the current Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) to be expanded across wider London boroughs.
The scheme is being widened to help combat the poor air quality in London that has been said to increase the risk of ‘developing life-changing illnesses such as cancer, asthma and lung disease, and there is a higher risk of dementia in older people’.
There has been criticism however with many saying the plans will disproportionally affect poorer people and won’t have the desired outcome.
The Ultra-Low Emission Zone is a scheme brought into London that charges drivers of non-compliant cars a flat fee for every day they drive their vehicle in an area inside the zone.
The aim of the scheme is to clean up the air around London to protect those living from life-changing illnesses. Poor air quality has already been attributed to the premature deaths of tens of thousands of Londoners every year.
At the moment, ULEZ covers central London and charges drivers £12.50 per day if their car doesn’t meet the low-emission requirements. However it is now being expanded to the wider London area within the M25.
Currently, around 80% of vehicles on UK roads would be ULEZ compliant. Based on EU standards petrol cars must be Euro 4 standard or better, this generally covers all vehicles registered post-2005, and diesel cars first registered post-2015.
All vehicles that produce less than 75g/km of Co2 emissions or be able to cover more than 20 miles on electricity alone.
You can check whether your vehicle is complaint by visiting the TfL website.
TfL announced £110m of funding to go towards a scrappage scheme for owners of vehicles that are not considered to be ‘ultra-low emission’. Applicants with a wheelchair-accessible car / van can receive up to £5,000, with cars and motorcycles able to receive up to £2,000 and £1,000 respectfully.
There has been criticism to this however as not all owners of these vehicles are actually eligible for the scheme – currently the scheme is only available to those on ‘low income or disability benefits’.
To check if you are eligible, again you can visit the TfL website here.
Businesses with up to 50 employees and charities based in London will be eligible to the scrappage scheme and receive up to £5,000 for a van or £7,000 for a minibus – rising to £7,500 and £9,500 respectively if they are replaced with an EV.
There will also be a grace period for these organisations if they have ordered ULEZ compliant vehicles that are due for arrival after 29th August.
According to a city hall report, the implementation of ULEZ in central London took 74,000 (60%) pollution vehicles off the road per day, leading to a 46% reduction in toxic nitrogen oxide concentration.
As a side benefit, overall traffic in the area was reduced by 5% (approximately 50,000 cars).
With the way the charge is set it, it has been said to disproportionally effect poorer people, shift workers and older people who need to travel by car. Outer London boroughs don’t have access to the same level of public transport as those who live in the centre, so in many cases trains or busses aren’t a viable alternative to driving.
There is also upset at the way diesel cars were promoted as a cleaner alternative to petrol, and now a massive proportion of these vehicles that are on UK roads with just 10 – 30,000 miles on the clock are not compliant.
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