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Sadiq Khan presses ahead with Ulez expansion that is set to hit almost 140,000 London motorists a day

·3-min read
<p>One of the new Ulez expansion signs</p> ( Eleanor Bentall)

One of the new Ulez expansion signs

( Eleanor Bentall)

Almost 140,000 motorists a day will soon have to pay to drive in the London suburbs as Sadiq Khan today pressed ahead with an expansion of the ultra-low emission zone.

The first signs warning drivers that the Ulez will be expanded from central London to the boundaries of the North and South Circular roads on October 25 were seen today.

Drivers of cars and vans, and motorbike riders, will pay £12.50 a day if their vehicle breaches the exhaust emissions rules. A £100 fee will be levied on non-compliant lorries and buses.

The aim is to build on the reductions in roadside nitrogen dioxide already seen in central London since the Ulez was first introduced in April 2019.

Mr Khan says he has an “overwhelming mandate” to press ahead with green initiatives such as the Ulez expansion — dubbed Ulex — since his re-election last week. Some campaigners want him to go further and expand the Ulez across Greater London.

Ulez/Ulex extension map: where the daily levy will apply from October 25TfL
Ulez/Ulex extension map: where the daily levy will apply from October 25TfL

An estimated one million vehicles a day circulate within the expanded zone, but about 87 per cent already meet the emission rules so will not be liable to pay. The charges applies 24 hours a day, and on every day except Christmas day.

TfL predicts its total income from the Ulez, congestion charge and low emission zone — a London-wide charge paid by heavier vehicles — could reach £762million this financial year and £1.157billion in 2022-23.

Petrol cars must have Euro 4 engines or newer, while diesel cars and vans must have Euro 6 engines. This generally means petrol cars must be less than 16 years old to avoid the charge, diesel cars less than five years old and diesel vans less than four years old.

Motorbikes have to have Euro 3 engines - meaning they have to be less than 13 years old.

Last month, a poll in the Standard showed 51 per cent of Londoners supported the Ulez expansion, with 33 per cent opposed. Two-thirds backed the wider principle of higher-polluting vehicles being charged more to drive in the capital, with 18 per cent opposed.

Mr Khan today vowed to be “the greenest mayor London’s ever had” and said: “Pollution isn’t just a central London problem, which is why expanding the Ulez later this year will benefit Londoners across the whole of the city and is a crucial step in London’s green recovery.”

By last December in central London, 85 per cent of vehicles were Ulez-compliant, up from 39 per cent in February 2017 when the Ulez’s launch date was first announced.

More than 90 per cent of cars met the rules but only 52 per cent of black taxis, though this was up from 27 per cent a year earlier.

Black cabs have been exempted by the Mayor from paying the Ulez. Instead they are subject to rules that have meant only “zero emission capable” (ZEC) new taxis have been licensed in London since 2018, while the age restriction on relicensing older cabs has been tightened.

The Ulez is also credited with helping to reduce the amount of traffic in central London by about 10 per cent.

Read More

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