• Saturday, July 13, 2024

Ulez expanded to cover entire London

The expansion has proved controversial because of the steep costs involved for people

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) expansion to cover every borough of the city came into force on Tuesday (29).

Drivers must pay a charge of £12.50 per day to drive a non-compliant vehicle anywhere in the city now.

Those driving in the zone in a high emissions non-compliant car must pay the daily surcharge online or by phone up to three days after they travelled.

The penalty for not paying is set at £180, which goes down to £90 if it is paid within 14 days.

The expansion has proved controversial because of the steep costs involved for people, despite a scrappage compensation scheme for old vehicles.

“This is a landmark day for our city which will lead to a greener, healthier London for everyone. The decision to expand the Ulez London-wide was a difficult one, but necessary to save lives, protect children’s lungs and help prevent asthma, dementia and other health issues,” Khan said.

“As Mayor, I’ve continued to listen to the concerns of Londoners, which is why we have massively expanded the scrappage scheme. This means all Londoners with non Ulez-compliant cars can now get financial support to switch to greener, less polluting alternatives,” he said.

“We still have millions of pounds left in the scrappage scheme pot, so I encourage all Londoners who are impacted by Ulez to apply today for the support we’ve made available… I am not prepared to stand idly by when we have the ability to save lives and help tackle the climate crisis,” the Labour mayor added.

To monitor the new zone, Transport for London (TfL) said it would install 2,750 cameras across outer London.

As of mid-August, 1,900 cameras were erected, almost 70 per cent of the total number planned.

However, the Metropolitan Police received hundreds of reports of criminal damage being done to cameras, with hundreds either stolen or vandalised by protesting Londoners.

“Although the vast majority of those driving in the zone will not have to pay the Ulez charge, the mayor’s £160m scrappage scheme remains open with millions of pounds left available for all Londoners with non-compliant cars and motorcycles to apply for,” said Christina Calderato, TfL’s director of strategy and policy.

“Sole traders and small businesses in London can benefit from increased scrappage payments for vans from £5,000 to £7,000, and can now scrap up to three vehicles. Payments to retrofit a van, minibus or wheelchair accessible vehicle have also been increased to cover the full cost of adapting the vehicle,” she said.

However, the Conservative government has attacked the mayor’s policies saying it hits working families at a time when the cost of living crisis is already piling pressure on them.

“I think people and families are struggling with the cost of living, that is obvious to everyone. And at that time, the Labour party, the Labour mayor Sadiq Khan and (Labour leader) Keir Starmer are introducing the Ulez charge which is going to hit working families,” prime minister Rishi Sunak told reporters.

“I don’t think that’s the right priority, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do and I wish they hadn’t done it,” he said.

The Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall has pledged to reverse the Ulez expansion if she is elected in May 2024.


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