London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone drastically expands from 25 October, and thousands of motorists will have to pay extra if they drive vehicles that do not meet the minimum standard.
London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) previously only concerned the same portion of central London that was affected by the Congestion Charge, but from Monday 25 October it will expand by eighteen times to cover far more of the capital.
The new regulations mean that if you drive a vehicle with high NO2 emissions, then you must pay a daily fee of £12.50 to drive in this zone; failure to pay this will result in a £160 fine, reduced to £80 if paid within a fortnight. According to Sky News, most diesel cars registered after 2015 and most petrol cars registered after 2005 will not be affected by these new rules; but that still reportedly leaves approximately 130,000 non-compliant vehicles within the new zone.
The map of the new zone (below) shows the vast extent of the expansion, which increases the previous zone (in red) by eighteen times:
In justifying the change, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said that the change addresses both air pollution and climate change in one fell swoop. According to statistics he quoted, the former problem causes 4,000 premature deaths each year as well as a myriad of health issues including asthma, heart disease, cancer, and dementia, while the introduction of central London’s ULEZ helped decrease toxic air in the affected area by 50%.
As for addressing the climate emergency, Khan posited that drivers of the offending vehicles will instead be more likely to walk, cycle or use public transport, or else purchase more efficient vehicles. A scrappage scheme worth £61 million has already helped 12,000 people change their vehicles.
We've already reduced central London's toxic air by almost 50%, and now the newly expanded ULEZ will bring cleaner air to over a quarter of the capital. We're tackling the twin dangers of air pollution and the climate emergency—world leaders must agree to join us at COP26. pic.twitter.com/ZIsP9Cm9V7— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) October 25, 2021
However, this scheme currently has several eligibility requirements; small businesses, charities, and Londoners who are disabled or on low incomes can apply to Transport for London for a grant of £2,000 if they scrap a non-compliant car and purchase a cleaner vehicle, but the schemes for vans, minibuses, and lorries have been suspended due to a combination of high demand and lack of funds.