Smart Transport

London plans to expand ULEZ in 2023

Ultra low emission zone road sign

Transport for London (TfL) is to launch a consultation this year on expanding the city’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in 2023.

The initiative is being driven by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who wants to expand the ULEZ to mirror the existing low emission zone (LEZ), which covers most of Greater London.

Khan had previously outlined four potential options for cutting congestion and improving air quality in the capital. They included introducing a Greater London Boundary Charge for vehicles driving into London or implementing a low-level daily Clean Air Charge for all but the cleanest vehicles.

However, Khan has decided on expanding the existing ULEZ ahead of a more sophisticated road-user charging scheme based on miles driven and vehicle type being introduced in the future.

In weighing up the different proposals, he says that the rising cost of living was a key consideration and therefore he opted for a scheme that would have the biggest effect on reducing emissions and congestion, relative to the potential financial impact on Londoners as a whole. 

Khan, said: “The triple challenges of tackling toxic air pollution, the climate emergency and congestion mean we need to further reduce emissions from vehicles in London. We simply don’t have time to waste.

“The climate emergency means we only have a small window of opportunity left to reduce carbon emissions to help save the planet. And despite the world-leading progress we have made over the last few years, there is still far too much toxic air pollution permanently damaging the lungs of young Londoners and leading to thousands of deaths every year, with the greatest number of deaths attributable to air pollution in outer London boroughs.”

Khan claims it is also a matter of “social justice” with air pollution hitting the poorest communities the hardest.

“Nearly half of Londoners don’t own a car, but they are disproportionally feeling the damaging consequences polluting vehicles are causing,” he added. 

“If no additional action is taken to reduce air pollution beyond the existing polices, around 550,000 Londoners would develop diseases attributable to air pollution over the next 30 years and the cumulative cost to the NHS and the social care system is estimated to be £10.4 billion.”

The ULEZ, which used to cover the same area of the congestion charge in central London, was expanded up to, but not including, the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205), in October, last year.

Christina Calderato, director of transport strategy and policy at TfL, says that the road user charging schemes it has delivered over the past two decades have been really effective.

However, she said: “It is clear that as a city we need to go further. We know that Londoners understand the ultra-low emission zone, and expanding it to cover all roads and bring the area in line with the low emission zone (LEZ) will be hugely beneficial for improving air quality across the whole city.

“We look forward to further developing the scheme through formal and comprehensive public consultation later this year.”

Logistics UK’s head of policy in the south, Natalie Chapman, says improved air quality is "crucial" for all those living and working in London.

However, she said: "The practical solutions which are to be implemented must recognise the essential role logistics vehicles play across the capital.

“Logistics UK is urging both the Mayor and TfL to work with the logistics industry to ensure a proportionate and joined up approach to road user charging."

"It is encouraging that long-term solutions are being sought and the idea of a simpler, clearer scheme to replace the capital’s various road user charges could make implementation easier for those responsible for keeping the capital supplied with everything that its businesses and residents need.

"Any London-specific road charging scheme must be flexible and adapt to the possible introduction of any future national road charging schemes to avoid fragmentation of regulations.” 

The proposed London-wide ULEZ will be subject to an impact assessment, a consultation and confirmation by the Mayor (with or without modifications) in light of consultation responses received.

Subject to impact assessments and the consultation, the proposed London-wide ULEZ scheme would then be implemented in 2023.

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  • Benjamin Adeyemi - 17/04/2022 20:46

    Ridiculous!! 100% unfair for drivers. it is a rip off. Many people outside M25 with non compliant ULEZ vehicles commute daily to London as a single return trip and are already paying £12.50. The longer the distance a diesel engine travels the more efficient it is and many vehicles have start/stop top prevent idling when stationary. The amount of pollution for these users is minimal compared to many Londoners with so called ULEZ compliant vehicles that travel huge distances within the ULEZ zone right now. Those making single return trips from the countryside should not be penalised since their vehicles when parked are non-polluting until they make the return trip. Expanding the zone to the get more money from an extra 135,000 vehicles will not make TFL any richer as vehicles entering from the countryside will only just stop coming in and the economics long term does not add up as deliveries to London will get more expensive and Londoners will ultimately pay the price. A more pragmatic countrywide road charging scheme where London can take a larger share of the money will reduce pollution, and the money raised used to subsidise costs of fuel efficient vehicles both inside and outside the ULEZ zone. Money raised must be prevented from improving TFL's financial position.

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  • PeterL286 - 25/04/2022 11:31

    The extension of the ULEZ to the M25 would be an absolute killer for our British Historic Vehicle drivers who mostly do less than 1000 miles a year. Just to take our vehicle on the road to get fuel would require an added 12.50 GBP to already inflated E5 petrol! All this we would have to absorb at a time of an inflated 'cost of living'! Its about time the Mayor of London should get his priorities in order rather than his personal agenda.

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  • MARK HEIDEN - 19/05/2022 15:13

    This is a joke Khan just needs money to cover up all the loses TFL is making. Where is he screen that stops all the pollution going into London from outside Its all about money if you want to stop pollution then he should say you can no longer bring your car into London not if you pay £12.50 you can pollute as much as you want. Now with the cost of living going through the roof I like many others have got to get in debt to buy a new car for work just what everyone needs more expense.

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