ULEZ expands to cover inner London, but what does it really mean?

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone has become 18 times larger this week, with not compliant vehicles being charged £12.50 a day.

The new zone now includes the North and South Circular roads, having previously only covered the areas of Central London in which the congestion charge applied.

The area is now 18 times larger than before, and the move comes in an attempt to improve air quality in the capital.

Announcing the decision, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This is a landmark day for our city. I pledged to be the greenest Mayor London’s ever had and I am incredibly proud that expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone today will clean up London’s toxic air pollution and help tackle the global climate emergency by reducing emissions.

“In central London, the ULEZ has already helped cut toxic roadside nitrogen dioxide pollution by nearly half and led to reductions that are five times greater than the national average. But pollution isn’t just a central London problem, which is why expanding the ULEZ today will benefit Londoners across the whole of the city and is a crucial step in London’s green recovery from this pandemic.

“This is also about social justice – we know pollution hits the poorest Londoners, who are least likely to own a car, the hardest, which is why I’m doing everything I can to improve air quality and protect the health of all Londoners. I will not stand by while pollution leads to 4,000 Londoners dying early each year and our children growing up with stunted lungs. The expanded ULEZ is a vital step towards helping combat London’s illegal air and reducing the emissions that are harming our planet.”

Operational 24/7, 364 days a year (excluding Christmas Day), cars that are not compliant to drive in the single, larger zone from the Congestion Charge boundary up to the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205), include all pre-2005 petrol (not classed as Euro 4) or pre-2016 diesel (not classed as a Euro 6) vehicles.

To enter the zone, drivers will have to pay the daily ULEZ charge of £12.50 should they enter the expanded ULEZ area or be fined up to £160, if they do not pay by midnight on the third day following the journey.

What does the new Ultra Low Emission Zone mean?

As the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion comes into effect today incorporating areas up to the North and South Circular Roads in London, Caura, the free vehicle management app has predicted that £864 million worth of fines will be issued in the first six months of the expansion’s operation.

Caura’s research also indicates 565,000 in a total of 2.6 million (one in 4.6) London-based cars are not compliant with the zone’s emission standards and thus their owners will need to pay the daily fee to enter.

Sai Lakshmi, CEO and founder of Caura, commented: “The ULEZ expansion is something that will impact one in 4.6 cars currently on the road in London today. That’s huge. We’re here [at Caura] to help motorists cover every part of their car admin and with the new ULEZ zone predicted to bring £864 million in charges in the first six months alone, we want to show drivers there’s an easy way to avoid those penalties. That starts with our simple to use app and our commitment to offer London-based Auto Pay set-up free of charge for early adopters – saving motorists up to £10 per car per year in admin charges.”

Now, how will this work in the real world?

Let’s take die-hard petrolhead Jeremy Clarkson as an example. As an avid Chelsea F.C fan, Clarkson will have another 16 home fixtures guaranteed for this season.

As Chelsea’s home ground, Stamford Bridge, falls within the new ULEZ zone, then he will have to pay a minimum of £200 for the rest of the season, providing he should drive to the ground in a vehicle which isn’t compliant with the ULEZ regulations.

Considering his wide selection of gas-guzzling motors, including his Range Rover which he uses on a day-to-day basis at his farm in Chadlington, Clarkson can expect a few more costs throughout the rest of the season, depending on his team’s performances in cup competitions.

Whilst Sadiq Khan says there is no need to purchase a brand-new or electric vehicle to meet the ULEZ standards, Alex Williams, TfL’s director of city planning, has encouraged people to make the switch to a cleaner vehicle.

He said: “We are now seeing 87% vehicles in the zone meeting the standard, this is much than we would have expected if the scheme hadn’t been introduced, and it highlights how the scheme has already been effective in cleaning up London’s air. For those liable for the charge, we would ask them to consider walking and cycling where possible, or using public transport. If they do need to drive, car clubs with ULEZ-compliant vehicles, or switching to a cleaner vehicle, are the best options.”

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