ULEZ: Nearly 700,000 car drivers to pay daily £12.50 fee, data suggests

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The ULEZ will be extended to incorporate all of Greater London from August 29 2023.

Nearly 700,000 car drivers in London will have to pay the daily £12.50 fee once the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is extended on August 29, data suggests.

The research, compiled by the RAC following a freedom of information request to the DVLA, found that, as of February 22 this year, a total of 691,559 cars in the capital would be liable to pay the charge if the ULEZ is expanded.

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This rises to 851,065 drivers when counting all non-compliant vehicles, the RAC added.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at RAC, said cleaning up London’s roads should be a “priority”, but added: “The sheer number of vehicles that don’t meet ULEZ emissions standards in greater London suggests there will be a massive financial impact on motorists and businesses through having to fork out £12.50 every day they drive in the zone.”

Urging the mayor and the government to work with small businesses, tradespeople, NHS staff and carers, while also comparing the current scrappage scheme to “using a plughole to drain an Olympic-sized swimming pool”, Mr Lyes added: “We believe he should consider introducing an additional one-year sunset period for certain key workers or a scheme where TfL partners with a leasing company to provide discounted, ULEZ-compliant vehicles to smaller businesses or traders, enabling them to avoid daily charges while still reducing roadside emissions.”

Commenting on the data, Nick Rogers AM, City Hall Conservatives’ transport spokesperson, said: "Sadiq Khan needs to own up to the devastating impact his ULEZ expansion will have on Londoners who cannot afford to upgrade their cars.

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“His plans will have a negligible effect on air quality, yet many businesses and charities face closure because they cannot afford to pay his daily cost of living charge.

“The mayor should listen to Londoners, U-turn, and start tackling air pollution where it is instead of taxing where it isn’t.”

The Mayor’s Office has been approached for comment.

The ULEZ is earmarked to extend on August 29 2023, to incorporate the whole of greater London. The ULEZ is earmarked to extend on August 29 2023, to incorporate the whole of greater London.
The ULEZ is earmarked to extend on August 29 2023, to incorporate the whole of greater London.

TfL’s data on ULEZ compliancy

The release of the RAC’s research comes a day after Transport for London (TfL) announced that more than 90 per cent of cars being driven in outer London now meet the ULEZ standards, a figure the transport body said demonstrates “the effectiveness of the scheme”.

Reiterating the intiative’s aim of tackling the “triple threats of air pollution, the climate emergency and congestion”, TfL nodded to the success of the ULEZ in central and inner London, including a 46% reduction of nitrogen oxide in central and 21% in inner London.

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The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I have always been clear with Londoners that the aim of the ULEZ is to get the most polluting vehicles off our roads in order to protect both the health of Londoners and our environment.

“This new data shows people, businesses and charities understand the impact of air pollution on health and are preparing for the change. With this jump in compliance, it’s now just one in ten cars seen driving in outer London that aren’t ULEZ compliant - a fantastic result.

“We expect the number of compliant vehicles to go up even more as people prepare for the expansion, but we know there is more to do to ensure every Londoner can breathe cleaner air.

“For drivers of the very few non-compliant vehicles, I have launched the biggest scrappage scheme ever - £110m - to help families on lower incomes, small businesses, charities, sole traders and disabled Londoners replace their vehicle with a less polluting one or move to a cleaner, more active mode of transport.”

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