ULEZ Expansion: Everything You Need to Know
Following the recent news of London’s future ULEZ expansion, many members of the public are asking for the decision to be reconsidered due to its costs and implications.
But let’s look more in detail at how the ULEZ works, what its charges are, how members of the public will be affected and what are its future plans.
What is the ULEZ
London’s ULEZ, which stands for ultra-low emission zone, is a designed area of the capital where pollutant vehicles can only enter upon paying a charge. It was introduced in 2019 to decrease pollution and harmful emissions, thus improving the general air quality.
When it was initially put in place, the area only covered the Congestion Charge Zone. Fast forward to October 2021, this area was expanded to encompass the whole North Circular and South Circular roads. However, in the last few days, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has announced further plans to expand the area again and to tighten restrictions.
Can I Enter London’s ULEZ?
As it stands, you will be charged should your Petrol car or van not comply with the Euro 4 or Euro 6 regulations should you be driving a Diesel vehicle. In order to check whether your vehicle is compliant click here. Don’t forget that there aren’t any “off days” as the zone is operative 24 hours a day all year round and impacts cars, vans, motorcycles, and other specialist vehicles (even if you live inside the zone).
For what concerns vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, these won’t have to pay as they are covered by a different charge called LEZ (low emission zone).
What Are the Future Plans?
The plans unveiled by Sadiq Khan, in consultation with Transport for London, aim, from 29th August 2023, to expand the ULEZ area occupying the current Low Emissions Zone, to include all boroughs within the M25, as far as North of Waltham Cross, West of Longford, South of Biggin Hill and East of North Ockendon.; covering all of Greater London Authority area.
How Much is It to Enter London’s ULEZ?
Currently, the price you will have to pay for London’s ULEZ is £12.50 a day; this will be extended to include the other areas affected by the changes in August 2023.
Road signs are already in place at every entry point to clearly mark the current ULEZ, so don’t worry, you will be aware whether you’re entering the ULEZ zone. This will apply, of course, even when the expansion is enforced, adding further road marks and signs to make members of the public aware of the ULEZ’s boundaries. If you’re interested in a map of the expansion, click here.
The registered vehicle owner will receive a penalty notice if you fail to pay your ULEZ charge by the following day.
Is the Government Providing Any Incentives Towards New ULEZ-compliant Cars?
Not the Government directly, but just last week, on the 30th of January, Transport for London introduced what is known as the ULEZ scrappage scheme, offering London drivers up to £5,000 to scrap their non-compliant vehicles or retrofit their vehicles to meet the new restrictions.
It’s important to note that you will only be able to apply for this scheme if you meet the eligibility criteria, as this scheme is aimed at low-income and disabled drivers.
Click here to find out more about the eligibility criteria, as currently Owners of standard vehicles may qualify for a £2,000 grant, motorcycle owners can get up to £1,000, whereas applicants in need of a WAV (wheelchair-accessible vehicle) may be able to qualify for a £5,000 grant.
Why are Members of the Public Asking for the ULEZ Expansion to be Reconsidered?
Generally speaking, commuters are asking for the ULEZ expansion to be reconsidered because it adds an additional cost to their daily commutes. In fact, with its £12.50 a day, that counts for an additional £62.50 a week, or an additional £287.50 a month. This can have a significant impact, especially at a time of rising fuel costs and sky-high energy bills.
However, many commuters aren’t the only ones to have voiced their concerns on this matter. In fact, public personalities such as Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy for the RAC, have expressed their worries due to the rising fuel costs, asking the Mayor of London to reconsider or at least give residents a grace period until August 2024, giving them enough time to plan for an upgrade.
In addition, Dylan Setterfield, head of forecast strategy and operations at CAP HPI, said that even with the ULEZ Scrappage Scheme, £2,000 may not be enough for Londoners to purchase a ULEZ-compliant vehicle.
Lastly, only low-income commuters and people receiving disability benefits will qualify for the TFL grants, leaving a significant number of commuters with no valid alternatives and lots of concerns due to public transport in outer London being limited, bringing even outer Councils affected by the expansion, to ask Mayor Sadiq Khan to rethink the expansion plans.
We will see what is going to happen in the near future, but in the meantime, should you have any further questions, or if you would like to find your perfect ULEZ-compliant vehicle, please don't hesitate to contact us and we'll be happy to help.
Tags: *ULEZ *Ultra_Low_Emission_Zone *Congestion_Charge * Low_Emission_Zone *Transport_for_London *TFL