ULEZ: What does it mean for London?

The Mayor of London has implemented multiple initiatives to create a cleaner and safer environment for the overall wellbeing of Londoners. This is obviously no easy feat in a city where approximately 50 per cent of air pollution comes from road transport. The intention being to reduce Nitrogen Oxide emissions by 50 per cent in Central London.

We have seen the application of several plans come into force over recent years, including cars required to pay the mandatory daily Congestion Charge, the T-Charge which applies to older and more toxic vehicles as well as a free online Clean Vehicle Checker which went live in October 2017.

Imminently, we will see the launch of the Ultra Low Emission Zone scheme. So, what will ULEZ really mean for Londoners and their visitors?

So, what’s the plan exactly?

The ULEZ is a Transport For London initiative that is being introduced in 3 phases:

8th April 2019 – Central London only will be affected (the current Congestion Charge zone). You will be charged a daily charge of £12.50 PLUS the Congestion Charge as well.

26th October 2020 – The Low Emission Zone will widen and will effect all large vehicles such as Lorries entering that zone.

25th October 2021 – The area will expand further around the North and South Bound Circular routes and effect all vehicles within Inner London at this stage. Something to bear in mind is that whilst the current Congestion Charge is only Monday to Friday and from between 07:00 and 18:00, the ULEZ charge will apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The ULEZ standards are set out based on the Euro frameworks –Euro 6 being the most recent for diesel cars, minibuses, vans and Euro 4 for petrol vehicles. The stipulations for engines must be not to produce more than 0.5g/km of carbon monoxide or 0.08g/km of nitrogen oxide. In a controversial and pricy push to clean up the air, any vehicles that don’t meet these numbers will be pushed to pay more to help improve London’s air quality.

Is anyone exempt?

Well London’s Black Cabs have been given exemption from both the ULEZ and the Congestion Charge. Perversely, TFL’s PHV fleet have not been afforded the same exemption from ULEZ despite being a largely low emission and green fleet. As a double whammy, PHVs are also set to lose the Congestion Charge exemption from 8th April 2019.

If you are unsure whether your vehicle is one of the ‘culprits’, you can use the Clean Vehicle Checker to see how affected you will be.

Whatever our feelings on the restrictions and handling of this initiative, one thing is for certain, City Hall is actively looking to take measures to tangibly reverse London’s terrible air quality we have ended up with. Whether it is the correct move or not, only time will tell.

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