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ULEZ: New pollution charge begins in London and becomes the world’s first 24-hour air pollution charge zone

Apr 10, 2019

New measures and pollution charges are to be implemented in the centre of London, launching Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), in attempts to slash the city’s toxic levels of air pollution. It is hoped that the move will reduce the number of polluting cars in the capital, and is expected to impact 40,000 vehicles every day. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said it was "important we make progress" in tackling the capital's toxic air.

Who will be affected by the addition charges?

Vehicles which do not meet European emissions standards and enter the zone will be subject to a £12.50 fee, a charge which will apply 24 hours a day, for every day of the year. Most vehicles which are not compliant will have to pay £12.50 for entering the area each day, in addition to the congestion charge. However this additional cost burden is a major concern for small firms, who as a consequence are, “very worried about the future of their businesses,” – according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, described air pollution in the city as “a shameful health crisis, and an issue of social justice”. He has also stated that London's air pollution was a "public health emergency" and it was the "poorest Londoners that suffer the worst quality air".

How do I check if my vehicle is non-compliant?

Vehicles can be checked using TfL's online checker but basically, those which are non-compliant are:

Motorbikes that do not meet Euro 3 standards (pre-2007 vehicles)
Petrol cars and vans that do not meet Euro 4 standards (vehicles pre-2006)
Diesel cars and vans that do not meet Euro 6 standards (vehicles pre-2015)
Buses, coaches and lorries will need to meet or exceed the Euro 6 standards or pay £100 a day charge.

When is the ULEZ coming into force?

The first two and a half years the ULEZ will cover the same area as London’s existing congestion charge, but in October 2021 this will be expanded to the entire inner city, including the north and south circular roads. Anybody who does not pay the charge will face a fine of £160, although a first offence may result in only a warning letter. The ULEZ is set to be expanded to cover the entire area between the North and South Circular roads in 2021.

TfL estimates the initial scheme will lead to a reduction in toxic emissions from road transport by about 45% in two years. The plan is that London's air will be compliant with legal limits by 2025. Let us know what you think. Are you in favour of the scheme? Or is the challenge to small businesses too high?