Sadiq Khan outlines why ULEZ has come into force in London
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The expansion of London’s existing Congestion Charge Zone is set to rapidly increase the cost of living in London for drivers across the capital. New regulations mean that residents living in any area which falls inside the North and South Circular roads will be forced to pay the new daily charges. Express.co.uk spoke to the experts to find out what it means for London residents and how you could be affected.
Who will the new Ultra Low Emissions Zone affect?
The expanded zone will impact all petrol or diesel road vehicle owners living or driving within any area from the centre of the city, right up to the circular A roads which encompass the city – (A406 and A205).
Under the new ULEZ regulations, road vehicles have been categorised into separate brackets which will each incur different charges, with some vehicles exempt from the daily charge.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Louis Rix, co-founder and COO at car finance platform, CarFinance 247 said: “Petrol vehicles will need a Euro 4 engine, while diesel vehicles require a Euro 6 engine to avoid the £12.50 daily charge for driving in the capital.
“Essentially, any petrol car introduced since 2005 or diesel manufactured after 2015 won’t have to pay the charge – all electric and hybrid vehicles will also be exempt.”
Where will it cover?
The existing congestion charge zone covers The City of London as well as parts of Westminster, Lambeth, Southwark, Islington and Camden.
According to Transport for London (TFL), once the expansion comes into force on October 25, 2021, the following areas will fall within the new ULEZ:
- Barnet, Brent and Camden
- City of Westminster, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham
- Kensington & Chelsea
- Greenwich, Newham and Tower Hamlets
- Hackney, Redbridge, Waltham Forest
- Enfield, Haringey and Islington
- Hounslow, Richmond and Wandsworth
- Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark
What does it mean for residents?
The new zone is being implemented by TFL in a bid to reduce congestion and CO2 emissions in the city.
On their website, TFL states: “Despite recent improvements in air quality, toxic air pollution in London remains the biggest environmental risk to the health of all Londoners.
“It harms our lungs, worsens chronic illnesses such as asthma, lung and heart disease, and puts the health of our children at risk.”
Residents living within the new zone will have no choice but to meet the required emissions standards or pay the daily charge – but with the rising cost of living and stagnant wages, this is a bleak reality for many Londoners.
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How much will it cost ULEZ residents?
The car expert told Express.co.uk: “Residents within the ULEZ zone have been offered a grace period, which will allow them to either purchase a compliant vehicle or get their current car upgraded to meet Transport for London’s exhaust emissions standards.
“The bad news for residents is that this grace period ends on October 24, 2021.”
This could mean incurring massive fees of up to £4,550 a year (the ULEZ zone applies 24/7, except for Christmas Day) for those who don’t own a compliant vehicle and can’t afford to upgrade.
He added: “While the Government has offered some help to those who need it, the money pot backing the incentives is emptying and many will now struggle to access any help with converting to be compliant.”
Help with costs
More than £50 million was pledged to help vulnerable categories with the additional costs, but most of this has already gone.
Three scrappage schemes were set up, primarily for small businesses, low-income and disabled Londoners and charities though less than £10 million is thought to remain.
If you keep a vehicle registered with a “disabled” or “disabled passenger vehicles” tax class, you will benefit from a “sunset” period after the ULEZ starts.
The exemption will be valid until October 26, 2025, as long as the vehicle doesn’t change tax class.
From October 27, 2025, vehicles with ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicles’ tax classes which do not meet the ULEZ emission standards will be liable for the daily ULEZ charge.
Vehicles operated by or on behalf of TfL will not benefit from this sunset period.
How will the charges be implemented?
Entry signs will be flagged when you are about to enter the new ultra-low emissions zone with advance warnings surrounding major roads.
There will be no barrier or toll booths, with cameras being used instead to monitor vehicles entering the zone based on your number plate.
Using a database the cameras will register whether you have driven into the zone and will determine whether your car meets the ULEZ emissions standards.
TFL added: “We would prefer vehicle owners to use a vehicle that meets the required emissions standards rather than pay the daily charge.”.
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