The Mayor of London has launched a new public consultation on the next phase of his plan to clean up London’s air by expanding the Ultra-Low Emission Zone.
The ULEZ standards would be applied London-wide for buses, coaches and lorries from 26 October 2020 and for cars, vans and motorbikes (with limited exemptions) up to the North and South Circular roads from 25 October 2021.
The Mayor recently delivered the first phase of his plan by introducing the new weekday (7am–6pm, Monday to Friday) £10 Toxicity Charge in central London for the oldest vehicles. This runs alongside and on top of the £11.50 Congestion Charge.
From 8 April 2019, the Mayor is introducing the second phase – ULEZ, 17 months earlier than planned. It will replace the T-Charge and cover the same central area, alongside and on top of the C-Charge, but it will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The daily charge for non-compliant vehicles will increase from £10 to £12.50 (for cars, vans and motorbikes) and £100 (for buses, coaches and lorries).
Now the Mayor has set out his plans for extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in 2021. This could affect 100,000 cars a day, 35,000 vans and 3,000 lorries. Drivers of non-compliant cars, vans and motorbikes would pay the same £12.50 daily fee as the central London ULEZ seven days a week. Drivers of non-compliant lorries, coaches and buses would pay £100 a day.
Diesel vehicles that do not meet the Euro 6 standard and most petrol vehicles that do not meet the Euro 4 standard will have to take action or pay, making the ULEZ the tightest emission standard in any major world city. The area covered by the expanded ULEZ would include all roads up to a limit of the North and South Circular roads, but not the North and South Circular roads themselves.
Reacting to the news, the FTA’s Head of Policy for London, Natalie Chapman said: “The Mayor has failed to take into account the time needed for businesses to comply with these new regulations, without incurring significant costs that could put real strain on overheads and business security. Introducing the ULEZ 17 months earlier than originally intended will leave operators with vehicles they cannot use, with massively reduced or no residual value for resale. For HGV operators, there is also a distinct lack of clarity over which vehicles will comply with the new Direct Vision Standard, due to come into effect in 2020, which is holding back fleet replacement planning.
“In addition, by April 2019 there will only be two and a half years’ production of vans available for operators to purchase, with little or no compliant second-hand market, which will put pressure on operators already working to fragile margins. Residents based within the ULEZ have been given a period of tolerance, and we would ask that the same consideration is given to the freight operators who keep London’s businesses and consumers supplied and working.”