Extension of Ultra Low Emission Zone Delayed

Daily charge for older cars within North and South Circular put back a year

Mayor Plans to Introduce Daily Charge for Older Cars in London

An announcement by the London Mayor today (4 April) has revealed that the extension of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North and South Circulars will now not take place until 2021 at the earliest.

Last year Sadiq Khan revealed a scheme that would mean a daily charge of £12.50 or more for any diesel car or large van not Euro 6 compliant (registered from September 1, 2015) or any petrol car or van not Euro 4 compliant (registered from January 1, 2006) from 2020. Motorcycles and similar vehicles need to be Euro 3 compliant. Heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches would also need to be Euro 6 compliant otherwise they would be required to pay a daily charge of £100 on a London wide basis. The zone would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There would be a grace period for residents which would have meant that they would not have been forced to replace their cars until three years after the introduction of the scheme.

Residents of areas like Hammersmith, Fulham, Shepherd’s Bush, Acton and Chiswick will have had to ensure that their cars are compliant as they would be within the ULEZ. Most people in Brentford and Wimbledon will be outside of the zone and Putney, Ealing and Wandsworth will be split depending on which side of the North and South Circulars they are. If a resident lives just outside the zone it is likely that they will become subject to the daily charge immediately the scheme starts i.e. they won’t be allowed a three year grace period.

Under the Mayor’s latest plans the charge for older cars will be introduced to the existing congestion charge area in Central London from 8 April 2019. This charging area, the ULEZ, is now planned to be extended across Greater London for heavy diesel vehicles, including buses, coaches and lorries, in 2020, and up to the North and South Circular roads for cars and vans in 2021 following a public consultation. Only black taxis will be exempt from the charge with emergency services vehicles having to pay. The Mayor has already confirmed the £10 T-Charge, which will start in October this year.

The Mayor believes this timetable reflects the minimum amount of time needed for TfL to consult on and implement such technically complex schemes over such large parts of London. However the delay will mean that the extension of the zone for cars and vans will not take place until after the next London Mayoral election which is due to take place in 2020.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said, “I am introducing a new T-Charge this October and subject to consultation, I want to introduce the Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London in April 2019. This alone will mean the capital has the toughest emission standard of any world city.

‘But the scale of our air quality challenge is so big that I need to go further. I want to expand the ULEZ from 2020 for heavy vehicles such as buses, coaches and lorries so that all of London will benefit from cleaner air. Then from 2021, I want to expand it up to the North and South Circular roads for light vehicles, including cars and vans. These measures will help improve the air that millions of Londoners breathe.

‘I want to announce my intention to consult on these proposals in good time so that business and those affected by new charges will have time to make changes they need to adapt to our low emission requirements.

‘Now I urge the Government to step up and match my ambition to transform the appalling air we breathe. Ministers need to deliver a national vehicle scrappage fund, reform fiscal incentives like vehicle excise duty and pass a powerful new Clean Air Act to Act end the toxic smog in London once and for all.”

The consultation on the Mayor’s proposal on bringing forward the start date of the central London ULEZ will launch on 4 April 2017 and run until 25 June 2017. Other proposals will be consulted on later this year.

A number of other measures which aim to improve air quality have already been introduced. TfL will no longer procure double deck pure diesel buses from 2018 and instead only buy hybrid, electric or hydrogen buses. All new taxis will need to be zero emission capable from next year and new private hire vehicles will need to follow suit from 2020.

Caroline Russell, a London Assembly Member for the Green Party accused the Mayor of ‘dithering’ saying, “Londoners suffering from asthma, and other health conditions, worsened by the dirty air, will be desperately disappointed by the Mayor’s sluggish timetable for clean air that backtracks on his manifesto promise.

“His original plans outlined a London-wide ULEZ for buses, coaches and lorries ‘as early as 2019’ with an all-vehicle ULEZ to the north and south circular by 2020.

“It’s very disappointing to see these delayed when around 9,000 deaths in London are attributed to air pollution every year. ‘

The Greens believe the delay means that an all vehicle ULEZ across the city has been ‘kicked into the long grass’ with its delay until after the next Mayoral election making implementation much less likely.

Sue Terpilowski OBE, of the Federation of Small Businesses said, “No responsible business organisation can condone the use of excessively polluting engines. However, we are concerned about the need to ensure that any improvements in air quality are not achieved at a disproportionately high cost to business – with damaging consequences for jobs, business viability and the economy as a whole.

“Micro and small businesses face disproportionately higher costs than medium and large-sized ones in carrying out business activities.

“We do not want to see tradesmen, coach companies, construction business owners or market traders refusing to serve London, which is why transport policy in London needs to recognise the difference between essential and non-essential journeys.”

April 4, 2017