Having won a second term as mayor, Sadiq Khan has confirmed that London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be expanded this autumn.
The updated zone is to be 18 times larger than the compact city centre area currently in force.
From 25 October drivers of non-compliant vehicles will pay £12.50 a day to drive through the area.
To avoid the charge, petrol cars must comply with Euro 4 emissions standards, while diesel cars will need to comply with Euro 6. This means most petrol vehicles newly registered before January 2006 and most diesel vehicles registered before September 2015 will incur a fee. City Hall predicts this could be around 100,000 cars, 35,000 vans and 3,000 lorries every day.
TfL has published a tool for drivers to check if their vehicle meets the emissions standard. According to City Hall, four of five cars already meet the ULEZ emissions standards, but owners of older polluting cars, motorcycles, lighter vans, and minibuses are urged to act now.
Mr Khan said: “I pledge to be the greenest Mayor London’s ever had with a mandate from Londoners to put the environment and climate policies at the heart of my second term in the office. Today I am reaffirming my commitment to speed up the cleaning of London’s toxic air.
“But pollution isn’t just a central London problem, which is why expanding the ULEZ later this year will benefit Londoners across the whole city and is a crucial step in London’s green recovery. There is no time to waste. We know pollution hits the poorest Londoners the hardest which is why I’m doing everything I can to improve health for all Londoners.”
The ULEZ, along with other measures to reduce emissions, have helped cut the number of state schools subject to illegal levels of pollution by 97% – from 455 schools in 2016 to 14 in 2019.
Many drivers have already shifted to more environmentally friendly vehicles ahead of the Government’s ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, with more than half a million plug-in electric vehicles now on UK roads.
What it means for London’s drivers
The expanded ULEZ will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year except Christmas Day.
The current ULEZ emissions standards will continue:
• Euro 3 (NOx) for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles, and quadricycles
• Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cars, vans, and other specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight) and minibuses (up to and including 5 tonnes)
• Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans, and other specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tonnes) and minibuses (up to and including 5 tonnes)
Hauliers and drivers of heavier vehicles can view requirements on TfL’s emissions checker tool.
Signs at every entry point will tell drivers they are entering the zone and advance information signs will be installed on surrounding major roads.
There won’t be barriers or toll booths. Instead, cameras will read number plates — sending information in real time about which vehicles are in the zone and do not ULEZ emissions standards.
How to pay
There is a £12.50 daily charge for driving within the ULEZ area in a vehicle which doesn't meet the ULEZ emissions standards. Drivers can pay in advance or on the day of travel. Drivers who forget have up to midnight three days later to pay the charge and avoid a fine.
TfL say they would prefer vehicle owners to use a vehicle that meets the required emissions standards rather than pay the daily charge.
In addition to the ULEZ fee, drivers who enter central London will also have to pay the Congestion Charge (currently £15). The Congestion Charge zone will not be expanding.
Drivers should register for Auto Pay to avoid a fine. The official TfL Pay to Drive app is available as a free download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. There is a £10 annual admin fee to register a vehicle.
Where the money goes
TfL say that any money received from the ULEZ will be reinvested to improve the transport network - including cycleways and public transport.
“We don't make a profit and are committed to reducing our costs. To help improve air quality in London, we are encouraging all Londoners to walk or cycle wherever possible, or use public transport, as this will help reduce emissions from polluting vehicles.”
Cycling and walking
Visitors could hire a bike with Santander Cycles, which cost from £2 per day, with all 30-minute journeys included. To ride longer than 30 minutes costs £2 for every additional 30 minutes.
It is now easier to park your own bike across London with over 150,000 on street cycle parking spaces across London and 20,000 spaces at stations.