5m more Londoners will be covered by expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone

The Mayor of London has confirmed the city’s word-beating clean air and decongestion initiative will grow next year, covering the extent of the UK capital.

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will expand next year, meaning 5m more Londoners will be covered by the scheme, which will now take in the whole of the city. This increase in size will be effective from Tuesday 29th August 2023. 

timelapse photo of Elizabeth Tower

The news comes after several months of debate and discussion on whether or not to press on with plans to extend the ULEZ scheme across the entire metropolis. During this time, a number of reports have been published evidencing how much has been achieved since the initiative first launched, with roadside pollution levels for some emissions falling by 44% in central London and 20% for inner London. 

As part of the latest expansion, a £110m scrappage scheme will be established to help more people switch to compliant vehicles, which for the first time will also cover costs of retrofitting for successful applicants. More support has been made available for disabled people set to be impacted, with longer exemption periods for disabled drivers (until October 2027) and community transport minibuses run by non-profit organisations (until October 2025).

‘Efforts to clean up the city’s air by extending the ULEZ to the whole of London will further improve the health of many Londoners. But the real prize is a pay per mile smart road user charging scheme, something Centre for London has supported for a number of years,’ said Centre for London Chief Executive, Nick Bowes.

‘The fact is, ULEZ is analogue technology – a clunky flat fee regardless of how far, where and how often you travel. Technology and the world has moved on,’ he explained. ‘The Mayor should move as quickly as possible to implement pay per mile road user charging, as it would be a fairer scheme that delivers on multiple objectives: tackling congestion, improving air quality, promoting active travel, and generating income for TfL.’

Sarah Woolnough, CEO at Asthma + Lung UK, added: ‘The expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is a huge win for everyone’s lungs. Asthma + Lung UK is delighted that the Mayor of London has listened to our campaigners. It is particularly significant for the 360,000 people with a lung condition in outer London who will now be included in the ULEZ. We hope this will lead to fewer premature deaths and fewer hospital admissions linked to air pollution.

‘Breathing in toxic air not only puts people at risk of potentially life-threatening asthma attacks and dangerous COPD flare-ups, it can also lead to the development of lung conditions. We urge other polluted cities to follow in London’s footsteps by introducing ambitious Clean Air Zones to protect everyone’s right to breathe cleaner air,’ she continued. 

Image: David Dibert


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