Drivers call for protests at City Hall amid fury over Sadiq Khan’s ‘ultra-low emission zone’ covering the whole of London
The Ultra Low Emission Zone is being introduced in central London next year
From October 2021 it will cover an area surrounded by North and South Circular
The £12.50 per day fee means TfL will collect £700million to £1.5billion a year
Owners of petrol cars over 15 years old will have to pay to use them in London
Motorists have reacted with fury at a newLondon pollution charge covering large swathes of London which is expected to hit one million drivers.
MayorSadiq Khanconfirmed that ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) – being introduced in Central London next year – will stretch to cover an area surrounded by the North and South Circular roads from October 2021.
The £12.50 per day fee means cash-strapped Transport for London will collect up to £1.5billion a year – six times as much as the £230million from the congestion charge.
One motoring group has now issued warnings of ‘Yellow Vest’-style protests similar to those in France over the past few weeks that were sparked over fuel tax increases.
And the RAC said it will be most felt ‘by those from low income backgrounds, as well as those who work in roles such as hospitality and depend on using a car at night’.
Meanwhile, 21,500 people have now signed a Change.org petition to stop the ULEZ extension, saying it will ‘price working Londoners off the road’.
Nigel Humphries from the Alliance of British Drivers said: ‘Many people think that as they don’t drive in London, or that they drive newish ‘eco’ cars, this won’t affect them. They are wrong.
‘The UK Government have given powers to local authorities to introduce emissions-based charges pretty much at their whim and with no justification.
‘Councils all over the UK are looking to copy Sadiq Khan’s lead, Manchester being well advanced in its plan.
‘Values of the many affected cars, and even some that are not currently affected, will fall due to fear of future charges long before they even happen.
‘If the government wish to avoid ‘Yellow Vest’ style protests they need to act now, remove such powers from local authorities and ban all such schemes.’
By 2021, owners of petrol cars that are more than 15 years old and diesel vehicles that are more than six years old will have to pay £12.50 to use them in London.
This means that someone who bought a diesel car only three years ago could now have to get another one to avoid being hit by the charge.
It is estimated that an additional 100,000 cars, 35,000 vans and 3,000 lorries might be affected by the expanded zone every day.
Will your recent buy be hit by ULEZ charges?
The Alliance of British Drivers has published a list of cars from the past three years which will fall foul of ULEZ charges:
2015 VW Golf hatch 1.6tdi Bluemotion tech S 104bhp
2015 VW Golf Bluemotion 1.6tdi estate 108bhp
Gareth Bacon, leader of the Conservative group on the London Assembly, toldThe Times: ‘This could be Sadiq’s poll tax. It has flown under the radar and people do not know what is going to hit them.’
Mr Bacon, even went so far as to reference the current protests in France and that Mr Khan could have his own ‘gilets jaunes’ moment once Londoners realise how much they could be paying.
The congestion charge zone – also the central ULEZ – is 21 square km (8 sq miles), while the expanded ULEZ will be 379 sq km (146 sq miles).
This means the expanded area will be 18 times the size of the central zone.
Mr Khan confirmed the extension of the ULEZ earlier this year after concerns about pollution in the capital.
The first part of the scheme will start on April 8, 2018, and vehicles driving within the area will need to meet new tighter emissions standards or pay the daily charge to travel.
It means those driving older vehicles across a major part London – an area 18 times greater than the central zone – will face a £12.50 daily fee if they use their cars.
The ULEZ charges across London will cover vehicles that fail to meet certain emissions standards and be policed by the capital’s network of ANPR cameras.
But TfL’s own ‘integrated impact assessment’ says about 565,000 cars registered in the capital will be liable if driven.
It also says 276,000 vans registered in London would be affected by it, as well as minicabs and HGVs, taking the total vehicles that could be eligible to one million.
Khan made the announcement earlier this year at the same time he launched a new study to measure the impact of air pollution reduction strategies on the health of children in London and Luton.
Confirmation of the expanded ultra-low emission zone comes after research showed the health damage from cars and vans across the UK costs £6billion a year to the NHS and society, with the bill in London £650million.
Officials said expanding the ULEZ and stricter standards for heavy vehicles across London would result in more than 100,000 Londoners no longer living in areas exceeding legal air quality limits in 2021 and all areas in the capital are expected to see reductions in pollution.
Mr Khan previously said: ‘Tackling London’s lethal air and safeguarding the health of Londoners requires bold action.
‘Air pollution is a national health crisis and I refuse to stand back as thousands of Londoners breathe in air so filthy that it shortens our life expectancy, harms our lungs and worsens chronic illness.
‘I promised hard-hitting measures to tackle our shameful air pollution and today City Hall is confirming the next stage of our plans to expand the ultra-low emission zone up to the North and South Circular roads.’
RAC roads policy spokesman Nicholas Lyes said: ‘Nobody doubts the need to clean up London’s air, however the expansion of the ULEZ represents a huge move into residential areas within the North and South Circular.
‘Residents and small businesses within this area now have just three years to become compliant with the Mayor’s emission standards.
‘This means many now face the daunting challenge of having to spend substantial amounts of money on a newer vehicle or face a daily charge of £12.50 to use their vehicles from October 2021.
‘These time pressures and costs will be keenest felt by those from low income backgrounds, as well as those who work in roles such as hospitality and depend on using a car at night when public transport is not readily available.
‘Motorists currently have no quick and easy means of knowing for certain what Euro emissions standard their car, or one they are looking to buy, meets – so it is absolutely vital that a central database is developed as quickly as possible.’
Mr Khan has been pushing hard for London to spearhead new measures to reduce vehicle emissions in the capital since being sworn in as mayor in 2016.
This includes the introduction of the T-Charge last year, which will be superseded by ULEZ in 2019.
Mayor Sadiq Khan: London’s ultra-low emission zone to be extended