London's ultra-low emission zone: New air pollution charge starts

Irving Hamilton
April 9, 2019

The London Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) will impact over 40,000 auto drivers every day - but some of the highest-emitting new cars will dodge the charge and continue polluting the city, claims a research organisation.

It's been heavily criticised by business leaders over the impact they say it will have on firms.

The zone applies to the same area as the existing congestion charge and replaces the T-charge for older vehicles.

According to a study by King's College London and Imperial College London, commissioned by Khan, poor air quality leads to about 1,000 London hospital admissions for asthma and serious lung conditions every year. Not only are less affluent drivers more likely to own a vehicle that doesn't meet the zone's emissions requirements, but it will be more hard for them to upgrade to a auto that is ULEZ-compliant.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said it was "important we make progress" in tackling the capital's toxic air. The introduction of the world's first 24-hour seven-day-a-week Ultra Low Emission Zone next week marks a watershed moment in our fight to clean up our filthy air.

Motorists who drive petrol cars have a good chance of escaping the ULEZ charge; if the auto meets the Euro 4 emissions rules, which became mandatory for all new cars registered from 2006, it avoids the charge.

In December 2018, the Mayor announced a measure to help micro-businesses in London - those with fewer than 10 staff - prepare for the financial cost of updating their vans to those compliant with ULEZ standards. This includes older cars, motorcycles and vans.

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The system, which runs in parallel with the Congestion Charge, was created to improve London's air quality by dissuading drivers of the most polluting vehicles to enter areas with the dirtiest air.

In a survey of 2,000 across the UK, Nissan found that only one in three were aware of the ULEZ going live from today, yet nearly half of all respondents support the daily charge's introduction. The retailer has committed to 100% zero-emission last-mile deliveries in five major cities by 2020 - and recently reached this goal in Shanghai one year early.

"Londoners want to breathe cleaner air and with one month to go before ULEZ I'm pleased that millions of motorists have already checked if their vehicles are compliant and thousands of businesses are cleaning up their fleets".

TfL has supported the effort with the development of an online ULEZ vehicle checker for drivers to discover whether their vehicle will be affected by the charges.

The Ulez will be extended to the whole of inner London within the North and South Circular roads from October 2021.

Only vehicles with the cleanest engines will be permitted in Glasgow city centre from 2022.

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