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Sadiq Khan wants to expand the ULEZ to cover all of London by 2023

Drivers of non-compliant cars would be charged £12.50 a day to drive in Greater London

Written by
Rhian Daly

There could be bad news ahead for some of London’s drivers, as the capital’s mayor has announced plans to extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). 

Last year, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan extended the area the initiative covered from central London to the North and South Circular roads. 

Under Khan’s latest plans for expansion, all of Greater London would fall into the ULEZ by the end of 2023. The new boundaries for the zone would see all highly polluting petrol and diesel vehicles charged to drive in the capital every day. 

The ULEZ programme was introduced in 2019 to help in the fight to lower pollution levels in central London. Since it was expanded last year, Khan says that more than 3.8 million people in the city have enjoyed cleaner air. 

‘The triple challenges of tackling toxic air pollution, the climate emergency and congestion mean we need to further reduce emissions from vehicles in London,’ Khan said in a press release. ‘We simply don’t have time to waste. The climate emergency means we only have a small window of opportunity left to reduce carbon emissions to help save the planet. And despite the world-leading progress we have made over the last few years, there is still far too much toxic air pollution permanently damaging the lungs of young Londoners and leading to thousands of deaths every year, with the greatest number of deaths attributable to air pollution in outer London boroughs.’ 

The mayor said that the issue was one of ‘social justice’, with the city’s poorest communities being hit the hardest. ‘Nearly half of Londoners don’t own a car, but they are disproportionally feeling the damaging consequences polluting vehicles are causing,’ he added. ‘If no additional action is taken to reduce air pollution beyond the existing polices, around 550,000 Londoners would develop diseases attributable to air pollution over the next 30 years and the cumulative cost to the NHS and the social care system is estimated to be £10.4 billion.’ 

If the ULEZ is expanded, drivers of non-compliant cars will be charged £12.50 per day to drive in Greater London. Khan has made a commitment to help charities, small businesses, disabled people and Londoners earning lower incomes adapt to the expansion, including a scrappage scheme to help them switch their old vehicles for newer, more environmentally friendly models. 

It is hoped that the number of highly polluting cars on London’s roads would be reduced by as many as 20,000 to 40,000 cars per day under the expansion, while carbon dioxide emissions in outer London could be lowered by between 135,000 and 150,000 tonnes a year

There’s a campaign to get London car owners to pay by-the-mile.

If the climate crisis gets much worse, we might have to move the UK capital out of London.

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