Five councils have lost their high court challenge against the mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s plans to expand the capital’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ). The boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Harrow, Hillingdon and Surrey County Council said they were ‘hugely disappointed’ with the ruling on Friday, July 28th, adding that the mayor and Transport for London (TfL) ‘do not realise the damage’ the extension of the zone will have when it starts to be implemented next month.
First introduced in central London on April 8, 2019, the ULEZ area was created to help reduce air pollution and improve air quality in the city. It covered the same area as the previous Congestion Charge Zone but had stricter emission requirements. Vehicles that do not meet the ULEZ standards have to pay £12.50, daily, to drive within the zone. All 33 boroughs of Greater London, in some places bordering the M25, are expected to be part of the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) from 29 August 2023.
“This landmark decision is good news as it means we can proceed with cleaning up the air in outer London on 29 August. The decision to expand the ULEZ was very difficult and not something I took lightly and I continue to do everything possible to address any concerns Londoners may have.”, said The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, about his Landmark High Court win
However, as the cost of living continues to impact the finances of millions of people across the UK, many motorists in London fear they may end up impacted by the upcoming tax and may will need to certain areas of the city once it become part of the ultra-low emission zone.
“While the principle of cleaning up London’s air is the right one, it has come at a time where drivers can ill afford to replace their vehicles during a cost-of-living crisis. This is being made by worse by new evidence which shows drivers are having to pay far more than they should have to purchase a compliant vehicle on the second-hand car market. We’d very much like to see additional support given to certain key workers, both inside the capital and in neighbouring counties, who depend on their vehicles to help them switch to cleaner ones as affordably as possible.”, says Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at RAC.
Where is Ulez currently in London?
When Ulez was first introduced in 2019, it only covered a small area of central London, known as the congestion charge zone. It was expanded in 2021 to include boroughs in inner London like Tower Hamlets and Southwark.
Since 2021, Ulez has covered the following areas of inner London:
- City of London
- City of Westminster
- Tower Hamlets
Now, it will expand to cover Greater London, affecting boroughs like Barnet, Upminster, Wimbledon, and Wembley.
Where will Ulez expand to?
Ulez will expand to cover all areas in Greater London. Here are some of the more populous London areas Ulez will expand to on August 29, 2023:
- Biggin Hill
- Kingston upon Thames
You can use a tool on TfL’s website to see if the Ulez expansion will affect you. The ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) operates 24 hours a day, midnight to midnight, every day of the year, except Christmas Day (25 December).
Over 90% of the cars seen driving regularly in outer London on an average day are ULEZ-compliant, but for the small proportion of non-compliant vehicles the Mayor has introduced a £110million scrappage scheme to help low-income and disabled Londoners and small businesses. The Mayor has always listened to concerns raised by Londoners and so from Monday 31 July the scheme expands further so that every family in receipt of child benefit in London (more than 870,000 people) and every small business is eligible for thousands of pounds in financial support if they have a non-compliant vehicle.