London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a plan to expand the city’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) across all London boroughs from August 2023, when drivers of older, polluting cars will be charged GBP12.5 (USD15) a day, as reported by the Guardian on November 25. The ULEZ was initially introduced in April 2019 covering the congestion-charging zone in central London, before it was expanded to the north and south circular roads in October 2021. According to Khan, the ULEZ has reduced harmful pollution levels by nearly half in central London, and the planned expansion will give 5m more people access to cleaner air. The city will also introduce a GBP110m (USD132.5m) scrappage scheme to provide vulnerable people and small businesses with subsidies for upgrading to new cars, purchasing bicycles, or becoming members of a car club. Moreover, Transport for London (TfL) will expand the availability of bus services in suburbs.
The ULEZ charge was intended to encourage drivers to either trade in their existing, non-compliant vehicles for cleaner cars or switch to public transport. A monitoring report published in July indicated that roadside pollution levels in central London were 44% lower than if the ULEZ had not been launched. The ULEZ charge applies to petrol cars earlier than Euro 4 (generally those manufactured before 2006) and diesel cars with an engine earlier than Euro 6 (typically from before 2015). According to TfL’s estimation, around 15% of vehicles driving in outer London boroughs would be subject to the charge.