ULEZ: Sadiq Khan says ‘expansion is working’ in cutting most-polluting vehicles

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“The early results show that ULEZ expansion is working because 95% of vehicles seen driving on an average day are cleaner vehicles,” said Sadiq Khan.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says early results show that the ULEZ expansion is working, as a new report is released.

Data published by City Hall and Transport for London (TfL) indicates that 95% of vehicles seen driving in London on an average day now meet the ULEZ emission standards.

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TfL says the figures showed the number of older, more polluting non-compliant vehicles seen driving in London on an average day has decreased by 77,000 compared to June 2023 - a reduction of 45%.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) - which enforces a daily £12.50 daily charge for driving older, more polluting vehicles which do not meet emissions standards - previously only covered the area within the North and South Circular roads. It was expanded by the mayor to cover Greater London on August 29.

Speaking at an event in east London on Wednesday the mayor said: “I’ve said from the outset that the decision to expand the ULEZ to include outer London was a difficult one but I think it was the right thing to do because the evidence shows that air pollution leads to around 4,000 premature deaths a year in our city.

“Air pollution leads to children having stunted lungs forever, adults will have health issues from asthma to cancer, dementia to heart disease.

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“The early results show that ULEZ expansion is working because 95% of vehicles seen driving on an average day are cleaner vehicles.”

Data published by City Hall and Transport for London (TfL) indicates that 95% of vehicles seen driving in London on an average day now meet the ULEZ emission standards. Data published by City Hall and Transport for London (TfL) indicates that 95% of vehicles seen driving in London on an average day now meet the ULEZ emission standards.
Data published by City Hall and Transport for London (TfL) indicates that 95% of vehicles seen driving in London on an average day now meet the ULEZ emission standards. | AFP via Getty Images

The report, which covers the first month of the expanded ULEZ, says average compliance rates for cars in Outer London were up to 96.4% compared to 90% in November 2022 and 44% in 2017.

City Hall and TfL have repeatedly stated the ULEZ expansion was devised to tackle air pollution in the capital, with all income to be ploughed directly back into the transport network.

“We know in central London there was originally some concern in opposition but the results showed almost a 50% reduction in toxicity, a third fewer children being admitted to hospital because of air pollution,” the mayor continued.

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“When we expanded in central London there was concern originally, there is more than 20% improvement in air quality, now in outer London the number of vehicles compliant against central and inner London.”

While City Hall and TfL have not published the amount received in charges in the first month of the expansion, it is being reported that the authority has raked in around £23 million from 57,200 drivers.

The majority of drivers of non-compliant vehicles (61%) paid charges over the month. The remainder were either eligible for a discount or exemption, or were issued a warning notice rather than a fine, to account for genuine mistakes in the first few weeks of the expanded zone. Between August 29 and September 25, 92,255 warning notices were issued.

The mayor’s £160m scrappage scheme has committed £121 million as of the end of September, with money going to more than 37,200 applications.

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The scheme enables Londoners with non-compliant vehicles to apply for grants, which can for example be put towards the cost of replacing them with cleaner, compliant models. Grants of £2,000 are available for cars and £1,000 for motorbikes, with larger amounts available for vans and minibuses.

Just under £40 million of the scrappage fund remains unclaimed.

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