From 29 August, London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has expanded city-wide to help improve air quality across the UK capital.

The ULEZ requires motorists to pay a daily 12.50 GBP fee for driving vehicles in the zone that do not meet minimum emissions standards.

This scheme initially came into effect in Central London in April 2019. Its expansion to every London borough is now expected to enable an additional five million Londoners to breathe cleaner air.

ULEZ London
The Ultra Low Emission Zone operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 364 days a year (excluding Christmas Day)

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has acknowledged the inconvenience and cost this scheme will impose on residents owning older cars. However, he said that the policy was a necessary move to help save lives, protect the health of children and tackle the climate crisis.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

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.

I’m determined to continue being a doer, not a delayer when it comes to reducing air pollution and taking bold climate action. The easiest thing for me to do would have been to kick the can down the road, but we simply don’t have time to waste. I am not prepared to stand idly by when we have the ability to save lives and help tackle the climate crisis.

To prepare for this scheme, a public awareness campaign has been underway for the past eight months, with TfL’s online vehicle checker being used more than thirteen million times.

Data shows that 9 out of 10 cars and around 8 out of 10 vans driving in outer London on an average day are already compliant.

However, to help support affected residents, all Londoners can apply for financial support to scrap non-compliant vehicles. Londoners scrapping non-compliant cars can receive 2,000 GBP, while those scrapping motorcycles can get 1,000 GBP.

Small businesses and charities can also receive increased grant payments of between 6,000 GBP and 11,500 GBP.

Meanwhile, the payment for wheelchair-accessible vehicles has increased to 10,000 GBP, and grants of up to 6,000 GBP are available to retrofit a van to ULEZ standards.

Christina Calderato, TfL’s Director of Strategy and Policy said:

Today is a major milestone for cleaner air in the capital as the scheme expands London-wide. The expansion will play a significant role in our fight against the triple challenges of air pollution, the climate emergency and congestion. We know that clearing up the air in the capital is vital, as thousands of people in our city are developing life-changing illnesses due to pollution, such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma. The ULEZ expansion to all London boroughs will help a further 5 million people living in outer London who suffer from the impacts of air pollution.

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, to help remove the most polluting vehicles from the roads.

The ULEZ has already delivered significant benefits in London, preventing 800,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions since 2019. It has also cut harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions by nearly half in central London and by a fifth in inner London. This has helped reduce the number of air pollution-related asthma admissions for children by a third.


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