Home Business News Sadiq Khan and TfL seeks views on expanding world-leading ULEZ London-wide

Sadiq Khan and TfL seeks views on expanding world-leading ULEZ London-wide

by LLB political Reporter
20th May 22 10:19 am

A consultation on plans to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to cover almost the whole of the capital from 29 August 2023 has been launched.

The Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) have delivered a range of schemes to tackle the capital’s toxic air crisis, the climate emergency and traffic congestion, but further bold action across the city is required. Around 4,000 premature deaths in 2019 were attributed to filthy air, with the greatest number in outer London. Bromley, Barnet, Havering and Croydon were the boroughs with the highest number of early deaths, showing that poor air quality is not just a central London problem. More extreme weather events are predicted if the world fails to act to reduce carbon emissions, with London already seeing these in the form of flash floods in 2021.

The current and long-term threat from toxic air pollution to public health is significant. All Londoners live in areas that breach the World Health Organization (WHO) target for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, around 500,000 suffer from asthma and a similar number will develop diseases linked to dirty air over the next 30 years. In the same period, it is estimated harmful emissions will cost the NHS and social care £10.4bn if no further action is taken to improve air quality.

Traffic congestion continues to be a persistent problem in the capital. Last year, the cost to the London economy was estimated to be £5.1 billion. Nearly two-thirds of the cost of congestion in London has been attributed to traffic delays in outer London. This comes at a cost to everyone, impacting businesses, bus customers and essential services.

The Mayor considered a range of options when deciding the next steps to take in dealing with the emergency facing the capital. In the short term, expanding the ULEZ London-wide will have the biggest effect on emissions relative to the cost to Londoners as a whole, as well as helping to tackle the climate emergency and traffic congestion. The current £12.50 daily charge level for cars, vans and motorbikes that do not meet the standards would be retained. This would be supported by a revision of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, which is also part of this consultation. The consultation will also ask Londoners to help shape the future of road user charging in the capital.  This could include scrapping existing charges, such as the Congestion Charge, and replacing them with a single road user charging scheme that uses more sophisticated technology to make it as simple and fair as possible for Londoners.

If a larger zone were introduced, it would have a significant impact by the end of 2023. It is estimated that the number of cars not meeting the tough ULEZ standards each day in outer London would fall from 160,000 to 46,000 and the number of vans from 42,000 to 26,000. Pollution afflicts the lives of young people, stunting the development of their lungs. These proposals would mean the air around an additional 145 schools, mostly in outer London, would meet the interim WHO target for nitrogen dioxide. The changes would also see a further 340,000 Londoners living in areas meeting these international health-based standards.

The tough emission standards have already been hugely successful in central London, helping reduce lethal nitrogen dioxide at the roadside by around half. In outer London more than four out of five vehicles are already compliant with the ULEZ standards. For those who own older, more polluting vehicles it is proposed there will be as big a vehicle scrappage scheme as is feasible to help people adapt to the change if the proposals are confirmed by the Mayor. This would build on the Mayor’s previous £61m scheme, which took more than 15,000 of the dirtiest vehicles off the road, supporting low income and disabled Londoners, charities and small businesses.

TfL is working quickly to clean up its services with more than 800 zero emission at tailpipe buses, making it the largest green fleet in western Europe. Strict licensing standards mean that over a third of iconic black cabs are now zero emission capable. As part of the wider move to electric, all drivers are being supported to switch to the cleanest vehicles, with more than 10,000 charging points now within the M25 – a third of the UK’s total.

TfL is also proposing to make it easier for people to pay the charge by removing the annual £10 per vehicle Auto Pay registration fee, while ensuring financial penalties for non-payment remain an effective deterrent by increasing the penalty by £20, or £10 if paid within 14 days.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said, “The air Londoners breathe is so toxic it stunts children’s lungs, exacerbates chronic illness and contributes to thousands of premature deaths each year. More than half of the 500,000 Londoners with asthma live in outer London and all areas of London still breach safe levels of pollution.

“That’s why my proposals for expanding the Ultra -Low Emission Zone are the right thing to do. Air pollution is not just a central London issue and Londoners in the outer boroughs should be able to enjoy the clean air benefits the ULEZ brings.

“We’re keen to hear from all Londoners, so please share your views on my plans to build a better London for everyone – a safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous city for all Londoners.”

Alex Williams, TfL’s Director of City Planning added, “It’s clear that the capital’s toxic air is continuing to blight the lives of Londoners and progress in outer boroughs is slower than anywhere else. The number of premature deaths and current projections for diseases linked to poor air quality is unacceptable. We must act at pace to tackle this, which is why we are proposing to expand the ULEZ London-wide next year and are looking at the longer-term solution of a new form of road user charging. We would encourage people to respond to this consultation to help shape our plans.”


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