The Optimist Daily has followed the progress of London’s Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) since the beginning when mayor Sadiq Khan planned to reduce the city’s air pollution and introduce a charge on the most polluting vehicles in the city. In 2019, ULEZ was enacted, charging motorists £12.50 a day to drive in London’s city center.
Now, Sadiq Khan has extended the boundaries of the ULEZ to all of Greater London.
Starting in 2023, anyone driving a vehicle with high tailpipe emissions within London city limits will have to pay the £12.50 a day. This fee used to apply only to the city center and then, in 2021, to the city’s beltways. This rule will extend to all gas-powered cars and trucks made before 2005 and any diesel car or truck manufactured before 2014.
Helping the planet as well as the people
This move is aimed to motivate the British capital to phase out old and polluting vehicles, to help the city reach its climate goals, and also to reduce the city’s pollution which is still significant despite measures to cut back on emissions and traffic congestion. According to the city, poor air quality is responsible for approximately 4,000 premature deaths a year.
“This is also a matter of social justice, with air pollution hitting the poorest communities the hardest,” Mayor Khan said to Bloomberg CityLab. “Nearly half of Londoners don’t own a car, but they are disproportionally feeling the damaging consequences polluting vehicles are causing.”
To help owners of aging cars make the transition to electric vehicles or newer, more efficient gas-burning cars, Mayor Khan has introduced a scrappage scheme, similar versions of which have helped to replace or retrofit over 10,000 vehicles since 2019. Despite facing opposition, the extension of the ULEZ is expected to be enacted on schedule and London to join the many cities eliminating polluting traffic from their streets.